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Dallas - January 2011

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Dallas — Funding Switch Sought

Rail Transit Online, January 2011

The North Central Texas Council of Governments will attempt to switch a $24.9-million federal streetcar grant from Fort Worth to Dallas now that the former has rejected the cash. Dallas has already received about $23 million in federal stimulus funds for a $38.8-million, 1.5-mi. (2.4 km) streetcar linking Union Station with Oak Cliff and has identified the local share of $15.8 million.

Last month, Fort Worth City Council voted to halt the final phase of a three-part feasibility study on a two-segment streetcar line connecting downtown with the near north side and the near south side. The action probably killed the $88-million project altogether because the mayor and some council members are concerned that the city may not be able to raise either capital financing or operating funds. There was also opposition from key players in the business community.

Now Council of Governments Transportation Director Michael Morris, seeking to keep the grant within the agency's jurisdiction, will propose to the FTA that it switch the award to Dallas. By giving the money to its neighbor, Fort Worth could in return generate support for a proposed commuter rail line from southwest Fort Worth to Grapevine and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. The proposal has the backing of Dallas officials. "We're going to write a letter, and we hope the FTA sees it our way," Dallas City Councilwoman and RTC member Linda Koop told The Dallas Morning News.

An expansion of the McKinney Avenue (M Line) trolley system is already underway and Dallas is planning an extensive web of downtown streetcar lines, although the estimated $100-million plus cost remains unfunded.


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