Years of planning and spending on a major downtown Dallas project are on the line.
On Wednesday, Dallas City Council will make a final vote on Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s subway project. It could literally be derailed for good if the city council doesn't come to an agreement.
Known as “D-2,” the project would put a second rail transit route through downtown to relieve congestion on the only route that's there now for DART.
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The projected cost is $1.7 billion. DART is trying to get $800 million in federal funding they need for the project, so it’s asking the city council to endorse a preferred route in order to remain in the running for that money.
DART already spent $15 million on part of the design just to be eligible for this federal construction money. Video renderings provided to NBC 5 show how these new subway stations might look.
The city council’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee talked about the project in-depth during one of their meetings on Tuesday.
Some council members say if they lose this grant, it’s game over.
“We could do the ‘death of 1,000 cuts’ on this thing and continue to do that like we’ve done for years, but the real death to D-2 will be losing that grant,” said Lee Kleinman of city council district 11.
People involved with the project say there's strong support for the western side of the route but the eastern side of the route closer to Deep Ellum has seen some pushback.
Activists have been trying for years to remove the elevated freeway known as I-345 that separates downtown from Deep Ellum and put it below grade instead.
The subway project could clash with that.
Other council members fear spending all this money will leave dart unable to keep up the bus system people need in southern Dallas.
“I’m very concerned that if we move forward with this project that we’re never going to have the transportation that our city needs to be successful – that our people need to get to jobs, to worship in grocery stores, medical appointments,” said Cara Mendelsohn of city council district 12.
Wednesday is just one piece of larger and complex transformation that could take shape in Dallas.
We'll know more when Dallas city council meets at 9 a.m.
Click here to watch the virtual meeting.