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Rail News: Passenger Rail

DART, Metra approve FY 2002 budgets


Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and Northeast Illinois Commuter Railroad Corp. (Metra) recently approved fiscal-year 2002 budgets to sustain growth.

DART’s board Sept. 28 approved a $606.3 million budget, down from FY 2001’s $729 million, primarily due to the near completion of the Northeast and North Central rail corridors.

The corridor projects include adding light rail service to White Rock Station, which opened Sept. 24. With additional station openings in Richardson and Garland in 2002, and Plano in 2003, DART would double its network with 24 miles of extensions and 14 stations. Trinity Railway Express also would connect downtown Dallas and downtown Fort Worth in the coming year.

DART also is finalizing plans for 37.7 light-rail miles for the Northwest and Southeast corridors.

Meanwhile, Metra’s board Oct. 12 approved a preliminary 2002 budget of $821 million. Of that, $450 million is slated for continuing operations — a 4.15 percent increase compared with 2001 estimates — and $371 million toward capital improvements.

Major capital expenditures include $118 million for rolling stock; new locomotives are slated for delivery by late 2004, and 300 stainless-steel, bi-level cars would be delivered between 2003 and 2005. Another $81 million would be used for New Start Projects: expanding the North Central Service with more double track, extending the Union Pacific West line into Central Kane County, and improving and extending the SouthWest Service into Will County. Track and structure work would be accomplished with $65 million, including $38.8 million for bridge rehabilitation and $53 million for station and commuter parking improvements.

The budget also includes a fare increase — the first in six years, and only the fourth in Metra’s 18-year existence.

Metra’s board plans to vote on the final budget at its Nov. 16 meeting.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/17/2001