Dallas, Texas – As deliberations persist over federal funding allocations, the Regional Transportation Council of North Central Texas stands ready to conduct a meeting, slated for July 13th. They are set to contemplate an endorsement of $5.3 million, geared towards the Silver Line Regional Rail Project within Dallas, according to the meeting agenda.
This congregation, the bedrock of North Central Texas transportation policy, is earmarked for 1 p.m. on the 13th of July at 616 Six Flags Drive, Arlington. For those unable to attend, the agenda is accessible online.
As part of the council’s commitment to transparency, representatives from the council of governments have put forth a request for the approval of this aforementioned federal funding, targeted specifically at the Silver Line project. This nod of approval is not merely a bureaucratic tick-box; it signifies the final piece in the convoluted jigsaw of the mediation plan between Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and the City of Dallas.
DART and the City of Dallas already made an agreement for $90 million in excess sales tax revenue
In the backdrop of this meeting, the Dallas City Council has already given the green light to a fresh pact with DART. This agreement, given a thumbs up in the June 14th council gathering, will see the city basking in an unexpected windfall of approximately $90 million in excess sales tax revenue.
The initial deal from DART boasted a handsome pledge of over $111 million in surplus funds for Dallas, only for the bubble to burst in February, when the figure was dramatically pruned down to under $30 million. However, the council of governments stepped into the breach, negotiating a new arrangement that saw Dallas’ share recuperate to $90 million.
The council’s verdict on the proposed $5.3 million will determine whether these funds will be channeled towards improvements along the Silver Line trail in Dallas. In conjunction with this, the mediation agreement also carries a provision for $15.4 million in federal monies, which have already received the council’s approval in June. These funds are earmarked for the enhancement of Dallas’ Five Mile Creek Hike and Bike Trail.
Apart from these, the meeting’s agenda also extends to other noteworthy issues, such as the funding for the Collin County Rides program and the contemplation of the Unified Planning Work program for the years 2024 and 2025.
About DART Silver Line project
Currently under construction, the Silver Line, fondly dubbed as the Cotton Belt Rail Line, is a 26-mile (42 km) hybrid rail line. It boasts a fusion of features typical of light rail and commuter rail, and this cutting-edge rail line is set to crisscross Collin, Dallas, and Tarrant Counties within the heartland of Texas, under the careful stewardship of Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART). When completed, it will establish a robust connection from Dallas’s northeast suburbs, including Plano, Richardson, and Addison, to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Terminal B.
DART has outlined a vision for the Silver Line, encapsulated by its commitment to offer “a high-speed, reliable transit option for residents and commuters.” Not only will this line serve the commuting populace, but it will also meld with the existing and future planned transit systems. As it aims to ease the burden on traffic-congested roadways, this project represents an innovative alternative promising to boost transit travel times.
Intriguingly, the project’s working name, the Cotton Belt Rail Line, carries historical resonance. It is a tribute to the St. Louis Southwestern Railway, a former subsidiary of the Southern Pacific Railroad and popularly known as the Cotton Belt. The Cotton Belt held the ownership reins of this line before DART purchased the right-of-way in 1990, thereby earmarking it for future transit use. As such, the Silver Line is not merely an infrastructural development; it is a nod to the region’s rich rail history and a testament to DART’s long-standing vision for enhanced transit connectivity.