Thursday, June 5, 2008

Greater Dallas Planning Council's proposed Transportation Policy Statement

The Greater Dallas Planning Council will be meeting on June 19th to discuss a proposed Transportation Policy Statement which includes consolidating and streamlining regional transportation organizations and agencies (DART,The T, and Denton County Transit Authority). It also is proposing to have a balanced approach of reallocating existing local sales tax authority (Dallas pays more in to DART than the other 12 member cities combined). The T only collects 1/2 of 1 cent and Denton County have only two cities paying into their system. That would make DART the cash cow of public transportation in this region.

While we should be working from a regional approach, Dallas will find itself the looser in this consolidation. If all will remember, after the Green line, Orange line and the extension to Rowlett, all other light rail projects are in the city of Dallas and they are in the southern sector which would include West Dallas. I worked very hard to make sure that in the DART long range plan (2030) the Southern Sector would get more light rail so that the residents would not have access to buses only.

Where is the city of Dallas on this issue? Where are the Dallas elected officials on this issue? Who on the DART board will question the wisdom of such a move by the suburbs?

Watch this very closely and remember that the region is looking at commuter rail not light rail. There are cities that are growing fast in the northern area like McKinney, Allen and Frisco who would benefit from such a strategy. The DART northern member cities like Plano, would also benefit from this consolidation. How does this benefit Lancaster, Cedar Hill and Duncanville?

Watch what happens in Arlington, a city who consistently said they did not want public transportation, but now that the Cowboy stadium is there, they want to jump pass other cities that have been paying in to the system over 20 years (reallocating of sales tax revenue). Who is going to pay for that?

Please keep your eye on this and watch what position Dallas will take.

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