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DART opens new segments on Blue, Orange lines

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) opened two more rail segments today, extending the Blue Line to Rowlett, Texas, and the Orange Line farther into Irving and closer to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

The Downtown Rowlett Station marks the first Blue Line expansion since the line reached Garland in November 2002. The 4.5-mile, $360 million segment completes the buildout of the northeast corridor and increases access to and from the residential area, DART officials said in a prepared statement.

The station's opening has prompted zoning changes and development guidelines to attract transit-oriented, walkable and mixed-use development near the station, they said.

In late 2016, the agency plans to lengthen the Blue Line south from Ledbetter Station to connect to the University of North Texas at Dallas.

Meanwhile, the $1.3 billion Orange Line — the first section of which opened in July with three new stations — has expanded by nearly four miles with stops at North Lake College and Belt Line Road on DFW Airport property. DFW Station is scheduled to open in December 2014, making the agency one of the few in the country to provide direct rail service into a major airport, DART officials said.

The agency has built more than 40 miles of track in the past three years. At 85 miles, it is the largest electric light-rail system in the United States, DART officials said.

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