North Texas Rail Plan on Fast Track? - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

North Texas Rail Plan on Fast Track?

Ambitious rail project seen as answer to gridlock, population growth



    North Texas Rail Plan on Fast Track?

    A $47 billion plan to build a 251-mile passenger rail line criss-crossing North Texas is on the fast track, city leaders said Tuesday.

    But proponents must first convince Texas lawmakers to approve the plan. They envision commuters taking trains to work instead of driving to relieve growing congestion on North Texas highways.

    "We're at gridlock," said Fort Worth Councilman Jungus Jordan, a key promoter of the rail plan.

    The rail line would connect cities from Cleburne to Frisco with existing rail lines, including DART and the Trinity Rail Express.

    "You don't need a car," Jordan said. "And the key is going to be that the transit system runs frequently enough that you can rely on it."

    Promoters want the Texas Legislature to set up a regional funding mechanism so that voters could decide whether to join the plan county by county.

    The funding would come from a number of tax increases, including a gasoline tax and sales tax, depending on what leaders in participating cities decide.

    On Tuesday, Fort Worth city council members received an update on the plan.

    Dallas City Councilwoman Linda Coop spoke to her Fort Worth counterparts, stressing that cities across North Texas must be united.

    Lawmakers have twice before failed to approve the plan, but proponents hope recent changes in the Legislature’s leadership mean their chances are better this year.

    If approved, it could take 25 years to complete the entire project.