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DART President Asks Feds to Consider Turning Second Downtown Rail Line Into Pilot Project

As mentioned yesterday, Dallas Area Rapid Transit president and exec director Gary Thomas testified today in front of a U.S. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs subcommittee hearing concerning Federal Transit Administration grants and oversight. For those who might have missed it -- and I'll assume that's every single one of you, and I don't blame you, really -- here's a link to his prepared testimony, which many of the Friends will find interesting, as it deals with the funding of the Green Line and the need for federal assistance in getting that second downtown Dallas rail line built.

Because, said Thomas, right now the so-called D2 rail line doesn't qualify for the same "New Starts" money that put $700 million toward the $1.8-billion Green Line opening this fall. Which means that unless Congress and the FTA come up with some alternative source of funding -- say, a pilot program, hint hint -- the D2 will be funded locally, not federally. So Thomas called for, among other things ...

... greater use of Pilot and Demonstration projects to acknowledge the fact that not all projects fit the requirements of the New Start programs. Our Central Business District Transit Study (D2) is an example. We need to provide for additional capacity in the core area, but do not currently meet the requirements of a New Start. We would like to work with FTA to develop and implement a Demonstration Project to develop new criteria for non-typical projects.

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