Plano Secures Land for Cotton Belt; Neighbors Unsure

North Dallas neighbors have noise, nuisance concerns about potential commuter line

By Catherine Ross
|  Thursday, Nov 29, 2012  |  Updated 6:48 PM CDT
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The city of Plano will be deciding if it wants to join other cities in pursuing the public-private venture than may eventually link Fort Worth to DFW and Plano.

Catherine Ross, NBC 5 Collin County Reporter

The city of Plano will be deciding if it wants to join other cities in pursuing the public-private venture than may eventually link Fort Worth to DFW and Plano.

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A proposed 62-mile rail line that would potentially link Plano with Fort Worth appears to be making strides in Plano.

The City Council this week approved an approximately $1 million deal to purchase 6.7 acres near 14th Street and Shiloh Road in East Plano as a site for a potential Cotton Belt station.

"Transportation is going to be critical to all of us in the region," City Manager Bruce Glasscock said. "It's not just Plano, it affects us all."

Glasscock said the council felt it was appropriate to act fast to secure the land.

Plano joins other nearby cities such as Addison and Richardson in securing land for potential Cotton Belt stops. However, there is no guarantee of construction, Glasscock said.

"It's changed so much over the last few years that it's hard to know what's going to happen or whether it's going to happen at all," said Patrick Mason, a North Dallas resident.

Mason's condo sits directly adjacent to a rail line that, under the current plan, may one day become part of the commuter corridor.

"Every story would be different -- it would be a light rail; it'd be a heavy rail," Mason said. "It's going to happen in five years; it's going to happen in 20 years."

But recently, he noticed work being done on the normally quiet tracks, he said.

Down the street, another neighbor said that noise and nuisance are among the top concerns in the area.

"It is literally in our back yard," Erin Pack said. "It's very close ... so we're definitely going to feel the impact of the noise."

Glasscock noted that the idea of an operating commuter train is still "a long ways out."

He added that the Shiloh station site could eventually tie into the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Red Line and increase the capacity of public transportation in the area.

Plano will vote whether to approve a public-private group partnership for Cotton Belt Corridor funding next month.

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