DART Says it Can Do it All

Subway supporters fear Cotton Belt line threatens downtown plans

Dallas subway supporters fear the suburban Cotton Belt rail plan will derail the downtown plan.

The DART board voted Tuesday to proceed with both the Cotton Belt line between Plano and D/FW International Airport and the so called “D-2” subway plan downtown.

The Addison transit center on Arapaho Road at Quorum Drive is planned to also become a rail station for the Cotton Belt line.

Addison Mayor Todd Meier said his city has been counting on the rail service for decades.

“We wanted to be a good regional partner. We feel we have been,” Meier said. “The interconnectivity opportunity is immense. It will be a great economic stimulant for Addison and really for the whole North Texas region. We’ll finally be connected east [to] west.”

The Dallas City Council asked DART to go forward with the subway and not Cotton Belt. The D-2 path would be a downtown reliever for the single surface route that carries all DART trains through the central business district now.

Dallas City Council Member Philip Kingston who represents Downtown Dallas said the Cotton Belt project will drain DART financial capability, putting a D-2 subway in jeopardy.

“It certainly poses a severe risk to the timetable for D-2 and the funding for D-2,” Kingston said. “They won’t be able to borrow what they need for D-2 and they’ll come back to us and say, ‘Oh, we can’t get it done.’”

DART spokesman Morgan Lyons said the two projects will seek money from different federal agencies, Cotton Belt from Federal Railroad Administration loans and D-2 Subway from Federal Transit Administration grants.

“These aren’t competing projects. We have the financial capacity to do both. Both are important projects. They are both regional projects,” Lyons said. “We have done complex multi-modal projects before and that’s what we’ll do here.”

The Cotton Belt line could be finished by 2022 but the Subway has been pushed back to 2024 because DART is still selecting a path for the subway.

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