Monday, March 09, 2009

D/FW airport rail link adjustments weighed

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Current plans for Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s Orange (light rail) line to serve Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport are being reconsidered as adjustments to airport access are weighed.

At present, plans call for the Orange Line in Irving, Tex., to connect north of the airport near terminals A and B (see map below). But regional officials and airport representatives are pondering whether the two rail lines and the airport's SkyLink people mover should tie in together at a hub farther north.

A relocated hub north of the airport in Grapevine, Tex., would serve both DART riders and Trinity Railway Express, which links Fort Worth’s T&P Station with Union Station in downtown Dallas. A Skylink connection would shuttle riders to the airport. Such a setup would create a transfer for airport users, but would offer more direct service for others heading to other station locations.

Irving has touted direct airport links with the Orange Line as a major economic incentive for transit-oriented development, and is reluctant to make a change in plans after supporting LRT development for many years. "All we want is what we were promised," one Irving council member said.

Financing is in place for DART’s current Orange Line plan, but changes could increase the price tag by up to $150 million, DART officials said. DART’s board of directors has the ultimate say in where the Orange Line is located.

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