By Kayla Henson | DFW Newsflash | July 2019
Plano — Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) travelers can expect more seats added to their commute soon courtesy of a $60.76 million Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant intended to lengthen platforms to accommodate three-car trains.
Dubbed the DART Red and Blue Line Platform Extensions Project, the grant announced on Thursday, June 27, will fund lengthening the platforms of 28 stations along the existing Red and Blue light rail lines. The total project cost is $128.74 million.
“This Federal investment will improve mobility for thousands of people who travel throughout the Dallas Metropolitan area,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said.
FTA acting administrator, K. Jane Williams, said the project will help accommodate the population increase in the Dallas area.
“Commuters in Dallas can now look forward to longer trains and a better commute,” Williams said. “We are proud to partner with the Texas Department of Transportation and DART to accommodate growing transit ridership and promote economic development as jobs and population in the Dallas area continue to increase.”
DART President Gary Thomas said the project will greatly improve the capacity levels of transportation for citizens.
“Many people might see it as a problem when the trains are crowded, but we see it as a wonderful opportunity,” Thomas said. “Creating transportation choices is a critical part of improving the quality of life for all North Texas residents.”
“It’s always important to be able to maximize your ridership and decrease the times,” Irving mayor and former DART board member Rick Stopfer said. “Anytime we can make sure we have extra capacity, it’s huge.”
Stopfer spoke about the impact rideshare programs like Lyft and Uber have on public transportation.
“Those programs are making a difference in our bus service,” Stopfer said. “If you can get your main bus routes in place then utilize Uber or Lyft to get [passengers] to those main points, you can speed up your time.”
Funding for the project is provided by the FTA’s Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program, providing funds for major transit projects nationwide. The FTA has funded 23 CIG projects, totaling approximately $6.3 billion since January 2017.
“DART’s relationship with the FTA is a true partnership, and we couldn’t have done this without them,” DART chairman Sue Baumann said. “The FTA is providing us both the financial and technical guidance we’ve needed to make public transportation not only feasible but viable in this part of the country. This project is a great example of how small investments made by the federal government can impact the people who live in this area.”