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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Smaller budget meets DART's accelerated growth


Closely following Dallas area voter approval of a $2.9 billion bond issue Aug. 12, Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s board approved in late September a $687.2 million fiscal-year 2001 budget.

Down from FY 2000’s $831.2 million budget thanks to lower capital and debt spending brought on by the bond issue, next year’s enables DART to continue what officials believe is the largest light-rail expansion program in North America.

DART is on schedule to open its first subway station this winter at Cityplace in Uptown Dallas. And in fall 2001, DART plans to open White Rock Lake Station, which would be the first stop on a light-rail line linking Dallas and Garland, Texas, in 2002.

Trinity Railway Express (TRE) commuter line also benefits. Formed through a partnership between DART and Fort Worth Transportation Authority, TRE plans to expand its commuter line to serve downtown Fort Worth, Texas.

Ridership has been on record pace each of the past five years; DART President/Executive Director Roger Snoble anticipates ridership growing to more than 100 million in FY 2001 and 127 million in FY 2005.

To keep up with demand, DART’s 2001 Business Plan calls for expanded service in each of DART’s modes, except paratransit. The light rail system is planned to triple by 2003 when the North Central and Northeast corridors are complete.

DART’s 2001 budget earmarks $257.8 million for operating expenses; $421.9 million, capital expenses; and $7.6 million, net debt service.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/2/2000