Dallas Area Rapid Transit board members approved a proposal Tuesday to build both the downtown Dallas subway and the Cotton Belt Line, running from Plano to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
The proposals were approved in a 12-to-3 vote.
Each project would cost more than $1 billion, and DART is counting on federal assistance to get them both completed before the end of 2024.
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"What we have maintained is that we're able to do both a second alignment downtown as a full subway, and accelerate the Cotton Belt project and bring it up to 2022," said DART spokesman Morgan Lyons. "We have sufficient debt capacity. There's also additional federal programs that we believe we can successfully compete for that will allow us to do both of those projects."
A number of elected leaders from Richardson, Addison and Plano spoke in favor of building both projects.
"My hope – and the hope of others that are here tonight, and the many, many others that aren't here tonight – is that DART board will do the right thing," said Addison Mayor Pro-Tem Bruce Arfsten.
But Dallas City Council members spoke against building the Cotton Belt, warning it could jeopardize federal funding for the downtown Dallas subway, known as D-2.
"The Cotton Belt is a regional priority, but it's not the regional priority," said Dallas City Councilwoman Sandy Greyson.
"D-2 is," Greyson added.
"If you can also do Cotton Belt, then God bless you, God bless you," said Dallas City Councilman Philip Kingston. "But you have, you will depend on God to find you funding for that exercise."
DART board members, seven of whom are appointed by the city of Dallas approved DART's 20-year financial plan, which includes building both projects at the same time.