Wednesday, June 24, 2009

DART Board OKs Orange Line connection to DFW Airport

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Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s Board of Directors Tuesday said it will route the final section of the DART Rail Orange Line (light rail transit) to connect to Terminal A at DFW International Airport in December 2013. The board made its decision following staff recommendation for such direct terminal access with the Orange Line from the future Belt Line Station on airport property.

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Construction on the first two sections of the Orange Line, from the future Bachman Station in northwest Dallas to Las Colinas and then to Belt Line Station, began earlier this year. The sections are scheduled to open in December 2011 and 2012, respectively. A contract for the final section to the airport is scheduled to be awarded next year.

DART’s website touts the Orange Line as “a key component ofa regional rail expansion that will lead to the doubling of DART's rail network to more than 90 miles by 2013.”

The Board vote also adds a future light rail connection fromthe Orange Line to the Cotton Belt, a DART-owned rail line that crosses through airport property north of SH 114. This would provide additional rail access to the airport.

DART owns 52 miles of the Cotton Belt, presently in use as a freight rail line, between the Collin County city of Wylie and Fort Worth. DART’s long-range plan is to connect the Red Line in the Plano/Richardson area to DFW Airport in 2027.

A DART spokesman adds,  "We're getting a lot of interest in a public-private partnership for developing that corridor. Our plan is to develop a new type of rail vehicle for it, as well, that will work in varied circumstances."