DART News Release
October 2, 1999
Bipartisan effort produces federal funding for DART Rail expansion
US Transportation Secretary Slater Signs DART Funding Agreement in Dallas
Dallas Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson hosted a ceremony at her Dallas office on October 2 where US Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater, Federal Transit Administration Deputy Administrator Nuria Fernandez and DART President/Executive Director Roger Snoble signed a $333 million Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) to help pay for construction of an extension of DART's North Central rail line.
FTA Administrator Gordon Linton and Snoble executed the agreement during the annual American Public Transit Association (APTA) meeting in Orlando, Florida.
The FFGA will provide funds over six years to help pay for the 12.5-mile extension from Park Lane Station through Richardson to Plano. This week, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison announced that congressional negotiators agreed to include $50 million for the project in the FY 2000 budget. The $50 million will be included in the final FFGA. The FFGA establishes a project completion date and provides a commitment of federal funds.
Both Senator Hutchison's and Representative Johnson's support for transit in North Texas dates to their tenure in the Texas Legislature.
Snoble said all members of the North Texas delegation played key roles in a bipartisan effort to help DART obtain the first FFGA in the nation under the new Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA 21) passed by Congress in June 1998. Currently, the Federal Transit Administration is reviewing nearly 100 applications for federal rail funding. "Senator Hutchison, Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson and Fort Worth Congresswoman Kay Granger have "supported DART through all phases of the congressional authorization and appropriations process. Their leadership in the recent negotiations was critical," he added.
Senator Hutchison worked closely with the Senate leadership to significantly increase transit system funding in TEA 21 from $36 to $41 billion. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Hutchison has been an advocate for DART as she promotes transit nationwide.
Snoble also singled out Dallas Representative Martin Frost who "has been with the DART project from the beginning -- through thick and thin." Snoble thanked other members of the North Texas Congressional delegation including Senator Phil Gramm, Representatives Dick Armey, Sam Johnson, Pete Sessions and Ralph Hall for their support during the federal authorization and appropriation process.
"It's also important to recognize the contributions of business, local government and community leaders in our 13 member cities," Snoble said. "They have been with us every step of the way."
In January, DART awarded a $54.9 million contract for construction of the North Central rail line section from Park Lane Station to LBJ Freeway. DART also has awarded contracts for 55 additional light rail cars, rail right-of-way, rail and expansion of its rail vehicle maintenance facility. DART's North Central Extension is scheduled to open in Richardson in summer 2002 and in Plano in summer 2003.
A separate 11-mile rail extension from DART's Mockingbird Station is scheduled to open near White Rock Lake in fall 2001 and Garland in fall 2002. That extension is being paid for by local funds.
DART's Light Rail Starter System has two lines. DART's Blue Line presently runs north from the new Ledbetter Station in the South Oak Cliff section of Dallas, across the Trinity River, through downtown Dallas and then enters a tunnel under North Central Expressway to Mockingbird Lane. DART's Red Line begins at Westmoreland Station, near the intersection of Illinois and Westmoreland in West Oak Cliff, runs north across the Trinity River, through downtown Dallas terminating at Park Lane Station in North Dallas.
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