Thursday, July 09, 2009

Dallas, Fort Worth reach pact on DFW Airport rail access

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Urban neighbors and rivals Dallas and Fort Worth, Tex., have reached agreement on complementary passenger rail access to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, with both cities achieving direct access to the airport itself.

Under the current agreement, Fort Worth Transportation Authority will proceed with its “T” regional rail service through northeastern Tarrant County and Grapevine, connecting to the airport by running the tracks parallel to InternationalParkway and dead-ending at Terminal B.

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For its part, Dallas Area Rapid Transit will extend its DART Orange Line light rail through Irving to the airport’s Terminal A, including a ground-level, dogleg turn around the northeastern edge of the airfield. Both rail operations could be connected by a walkway between Terminals A and B.

The plan also allows for the possibility of new options on the airport’s north end, such as if DART proceeds with developing its Cotton Belt line from Coppell to eastern cities such as Plano. Such a plan is not scheduled to be completed until 2028, but DART is weighing a public-private partnership to accelerate the proposal’s implementation.

DART’s options include extending a branch of Orange Line LRT to the Cotton Belt. But that could require future airport-bound travelers on the Forth Worth “T” to transfer at Grapevine for airport access, a plan officials in Tarrant County have panned.