"The Much Anticipated Downtown Dallas Streetcar Project Is a Step Closer to Reality."

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That headline is the very first sentence in a press release from the U.S. Federal Transit Administration announcing that on Thursday, it and the North Central Texas Council of Governments finally signed the grant agreement that will provide $23 million in Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery funds for the Union Station-to-North Oak Cliff project. The announcement comes one week before that streetcar town hall at Methodist Hospital.

I've left messages with NCTCOG officials about updated time lines and will update accordingly. But in the release, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood reiterates: He's a very, very big fan of the project. Says LaHood, "The Dallas streetcar project is another great example of how the Recovery Act is creating jobs and providing accessible transportation. Residents will soon be able to take the streetcar to work or shopping downtown. It will also provide a direct connection to light rail and commuter rail at Union Station."

To which Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff adds this: "In addition to creating much-needed jobs for workers in Dallas, this proposed streetcar line will advance economic growth in downtown neighborhoods by linking them with major employment centers throughout the region."

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