In a pivotal move to resolve the longstanding feud between Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and the City of Dallas concerning the disbursement of surplus sales tax revenue, the Regional Transportation Council (RTC) sanctioned $5.3 million at its gathering on July 13. This financial approval is set to bolster the Silver Line Regional Rail Project, marking a significant milestone in the mediation plan struck between the two parties.
Regional Transportation Council funding approval to be used for DART’s Silver Line project
The RTC’s endorsement comes as the concluding piece of a comprehensive mediation strategy, providing federal funds requested by the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG). These resources will be allocated towards the implementation of improvements along the Silver Line project within the city of Dallas, as indicated in the meeting’s agenda.
Michael Morris, who holds the office of Transportation Director for the council of governments, offered an insight into the meticulous tracking of potential enhancements that the transportation council could finance. The augmentation list encompasses the installation of a traffic signal and a pump house in Hillcrest, extending a noise wall, among others.
The official acknowledgement of these funds bears testament to the council’s commitment to resolving the dispute, a task likened by Morris to a “final homework assignment” in the mediation plan. Reflecting back on the council’s prior allocation of $15.4 million in federal funds in June as part of the same plan, intended for Dallas’ Five Mile Creek Hike and Bike Trail, Morris expressed his pride in the increasingly positive tone of discussions between DART and the city over the past quarter.
Alongside this, the council, in the same resolution, ratified a policy statement concerning prospective communication related to the Silver Line project and the Cotton Belt Bicycle-Pedestrian project. The RTC is advocating for a coordinated and cooperative approach from all local government bodies, transportation providers, and their respective elected officials, board members, and staff, to expedite the advancement of the project, as detailed in the agenda.
“Should future questions or issues arise, the [Regional Transportation Council] strongly encourages all parties to work collaboratively in a professional manner to expeditiously resolve,” the agenda states.
This development follows on the heels of the Dallas City Council’s ratification of a renewed agreement with DART in their meeting on June 14. The arrangement allows Dallas to receive approximately $90 million in excess sales tax revenue.
In the original terms, DART had pledged over $111 million in surplus funds to Dallas. However, citing the city’s culpability for delays on the Silver Line project, the offer was subsequently reduced to about $32 million. In a mediated arrangement brokered by the council of governments, the total allocation to Dallas was revised and amplified to $90 million.