Sooner than expected, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced the 51 projects across the country to receive Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery funds. And there are two Dallas projects about to get very stimulated: the $1.3 billion construction of the North Texas Tollway Authority's State Highway 161 (which will get $20 million to help secure loans for the project) and the $58-million downtown Dallas streetcar project, set to get $23 million in start-up scratch.
The proposed streetcar line originates in Downtown Dallas at Harwood and Main Street, continuing down Main Street to Houston Street through the largest job center in the North Texas area. The line has a stop at Union Station in Downtown Dallas, which provides access to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Authority's Red/Blue Light rail lines and to Fort Worth via the Trinity Railway Express. It also includes stops at the Dallas Convention Center and Hotel, Trinity River Park (which will be among the largest urban parks in the United States), Methodist Medical Center, the Oak Cliff Gateway area and multiple residential areas.
- Provides mobility and connectivity and increases transportation options in downtown Dallas, a city with more than 1.2 million people
- Links walkable, mixed use neighborhoods in the urban core with employment centers throughout the region
This project will improve transportation within downtown Dallas by creating a seamless transit connection and providing a multi-modal link between jobs and residents. It specifically targets commuters in mixed use districts adjacent to downtown and will help create a transit network linking urban areas by providing multiple transportation alternatives.
Update: Fort Worth, which applied for the grant with Dallas under the North Central Texas Council of Governments umbrella, is unhappy about getting shut out. One word: politics!
Update at 11:40 a.m.: In the comments, Jason Roberts of, among other things, the Oak Cliff Transit Authority has posted the just-finished CBD-Oak Cliff Streetcar Preliminary Alignment.
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Update at 2:02 p.m.: Michael Morris at the North Central Texas Council of Governments will not be available till later today to discuss the question: Why Dallas and not Fort Worth? But Amanda Wilson, in transit planning at the NCTCOG, tells Unfair Park that, yes, "We are seeking clarification on that grant just to be 100 percent clear on what to tell people."