Wednesday, January 09, 2013

More track, more streetcars, for Dallas project

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More track, more streetcars, for Dallas project Brookville Equipment Corp.

Dallas's Oak Cliff streetcar line may get additional funding for more right-of-way work and two additional streetcars, should the Regional Transportation Council approve the transfer of funds Thursday.

At stake is $30.87 million set aside for a Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) transit connection to Love Field, the city's older airport. The Council is set to approve reallocating the funds to extend the streetcar line another 0.7 miles to the Bishops Art District, and to acquire two additional Liberty streetcars from Brookville Equipment Corp. Brookville already is constructing two streetcars for the line, set to open in October 2014.

Of the $30.87 million, about $8 million would be allocated to preliminary work for another addition, extending the streetcar from Dallas Union Station to the city's convention center, part of a long-term plan to expand rail transit option in downtown Dallas, complementing existing DART light rail transit service.

Work on the initial 1.5-mile portion of the line, linking Union Station and Methodist Dallas Medical Center, is slated to begin next month.

The North Central Texas Council of Governments is making the formal proposal to the Regional Transportation Council, despite protests from some Dallas citizens saying a transit link to Love Field is more of a priority.

The streetcar plan has been politically driven by grassroots Oak Cliff neighborhood organizations, as well as the Oak Cliffs Chamber of Commerce, with DART providing some assistance. DART will operate and maintain the streetcar line.