Mola Lenghi, Arlington Reporter
Mass transit is back on the Arlington City Council's radar even though voters have rejected past proposals for an inner-city transportation service.
Arlington is once again looking at mass transit options, but this time it considering public transportation to and from Arlington, not within the city.
Voters already have put the brakes on public transportation three times, and the city is not looking to revisit those proposals.
"As citizens, we've not decided that we want to have a bus system, but because of our entertainment district and UT-Arlington and because of the surrounding transportation systems that are out there, we're going to look for something that allows us to uniquely connect to those -- perhaps," Councilman Jimmy Bennett said.
City officials say they want to connect Arlington to the rest of the Metroplex in ways other than highways.
"There's a big development of rail around us, and if we don't get busy in figuring out how we can join in that, we're going to be left out," Mayor Robert Cluck said. "It's going to go around Arlington."
Some say that the city will miss an opportunity if rail development continues to skirt Arlington, a city that often sells itself on being the center of the Metroplex.
"I think it could have an astronomical impact on the entire entertainment district in Arlington, plus better access to DFW Airport and being a part of that system," Cluck said. "I don't think we can afford to be left out here stranded."
Councilwoman Kathryn Wilemon said some form of mass transportation linking Arlington to the rest of the region is a necessity if Arlington wants to stay economically viable in the long run.
"The only way to get to Arlington is by car," she said. "We can't have that."
Bennett said mass transportation should fit into the larger picture of mobility in Arlington, which includes updating existing roadways such as State Highway 360 and Interstate 30.
Cluck said the city has had preliminary discussions with area transit systems about getting Arlington connected.
"I believe Dallas and Fort Worth are ready to talk to us about letting us into the rail system," he said.
But Cluck said it would not be cheap.
"It's going to be expensive, but it's doable, and I think we can work together to make it happen," he said.