The Cotton Belt Rail Line May Still Happen, Despite Objections from Nearby Residents

Despite having received zero proposals for private investment and an expected zero dollar contribution from DART until the agency's cash flow issues loosen in 2035, plans for public transportation along the former Cotton Belt Line in northern DFW are moving forward.

According to a DART presentation, plans for the line include diesel rail, which would look either like the sleek, light rail-aping vehicles used by DCTA or the more traditional looking TRE cars, or possible bus rapid transit along the corridor using articulating, "bendy," buses.

Dallas City Council members largely support the plans moving forward, with the council's Transportation Committee recommending Monday afternoon that DART continue with its current efforts to both obtain funding for the project and use the existing Cotton Belt route.

Councilmember Sandy Greyson strongly disagreed, however, because she feels the line will provide "no economic benefit" to the city or her district, through which the line would partially run. Greyson favors the line's running along the LBJ rather than the Cotton Belt, because she feels there are less disruptive spots for potential stations along the freeway.

The only other member of the committee to take issue with the plan, which would serve primarily to provide a cross town connection to DFW Airport for North Dallas and the northern suburbs, was Philip Kingston.

"We're focusing on a project where people who are going to live near it don't want it," he said, echoing the sentiment Greyson had suggested. DART should prioritize greater mobility within the urban core, rather than regionalism, Kingston said.

Not that there's a threat of anything happen anytime soon, but the plans will move forward. DART has identified 2020 as the first date the project might be expected to bring in any revenue.

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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young