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Another setback for DART

More bad news from Dallas.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit can’t afford to build light-rail service to D/FW International Airport by 2013 as it has long said it would, the agency’s chief financial officer said Tuesday.

The news comes as a sharp reversal, but CFO David Leininger said the only way the project can be built in the near future will be if new revenues can be found, either through a new tax or, more likely but still uncertain, a federal grant that would cover the approximately $275 million cost of the final leg of the Orange Line.

“We are not abandoning these projects by any means, but there simply isn’t room for them in your current plan,” he told board members.


Irving has counted on the line to anchor more than $4 billion in planned developments near rail stations. That includes a $385 million convention and entertainment complex in the Las Colinas Urban Center. The city is shouldering the lion’s share of those construction costs.

That’s on top of the previous announcements about projects being delayed or discontinued. Part of the problem, as I understand it, is that the pool of federal grant money that gave Metro funding for the North and Southeast lines is all used up. Metro got the last two available grants for that. Until there are more funds like that available from the federal government, projects like that and like the University line will at the very least experience some uncertainty. It’s high time Congress took action on this. Alternately, as the DMN editorializes, the Lege can provide funds for regional transportation projects. This is worth doing, and if DART can’t do it by itself, it should get help.

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  1. Mike says:

    What’s a good way to get that unemployment rate down? Build a bunch of infrastructure that will serve us well for decades. Too bad Obama doesn’t seem to understand this…

  2. […] Back in June, Dallas Area Rapid Transit presented a 20-year financial plan that said it could no longer afford to build several new light rail lines that it had intended to do. Now it’s got an updated projection that says it can build them after all. Just six weeks after telling board members that it couldn’t be done, DART executives on Tuesday presented their bosses with a 20-year financial plan that keeps the Orange Line rail service on track to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. […]