Could Road to Arlington Mass Transit Lead to DART?

DART reviews policies for nonmember services

By Mola Lenghi
|  Tuesday, Mar 5, 2013  |  Updated 8:24 PM CDT
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Arlington launched a short-term pilot program providing bus service from UTA to the TRE Station to see if there is a need or desire for public transportation. If there is Dallas Area Rapid Transit might consider allowing Arlington into its system.

Mola Lenghi, NBC 5 Arlington Reporter

Arlington launched a short-term pilot program providing bus service from UTA to the TRE Station to see if there is a need or desire for public transportation. If there is Dallas Area Rapid Transit might consider allowing Arlington into its system.

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Dallas Area Rapid Transit is reviewing its policies on providing services to nonmember cities such as Arlington.

DART contracted with nonmember city Mesquite last year for a trial shuttle program and is considering a proposed pilot program for a shuttle between the University of Texas at Arlington and the CentrePort Trinity Railway Express station.

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But questions about the fairness of such programs to member cities have been raised, the Dallas Morning News reports.

The agency's 13 member cities have approved a one-penny sales tax for public transportation. Since the DART system started rolling 30 years ago, its members collectively have paid almost a half a billion dollars.

But Arlington leaders say the tax currently is not on the city's radar.

"That's a very large amount of money -- millions and millions of dollars," Mayor Robert Cluck said.

Arlington's pilot project would cost a mere $700,000. Mesquite is paying about $300,000 for its shuttle service from Hanby Stadium to the Lawnview Station in Dallas.

"I understand why they would be upset, but whatever contract we work out -- if we work one out -- it will be equitable," Cluck said.

He said he hopes the city's proposed pilot program would convince Arlington residents that cars are not the only way to get around North Texas.

"We're kind of that hole in the doughnut," Cluck said. "I think it would have long-range implications if we remain that hole in that doughnut."

Voters in Arlington, the largest U.S. city without mass transit, have voted down public transportation proposals three different times.

Councilwoman Kathryn Wilemon said the pilot program would give the city an indication of the need and desire for mass transit in Arlington.

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