Dallas Area Rapid Transit
(DART) is preparing to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the vote to create the agency. On Saturday, Aug. 13, 1983, residents in Dallas and 13 other cities elected to be a part of the new transit agency and contribute 1% in sales tax to fund it. Later, Cockrell Hill would opt in and Coppell and Flower Mound would drop out.
More than 101,000 people, out of 175,000 voters, cast their vote for transit. In Dallas County, it was the largest turnout for a referendum to date.
The voter-approved 1-cent sales tax took effect in January 1984 and DART officially began operations. The fledgling agency promptly initiated suburban express bus service to connect residents from throughout the service area to downtown Dallas.
On June 14, 1996, the first 11.2 miles of the 20-mile light rail transit starter system opened on time and within budget. Later that year, the Trinity Railway Express opened the first 10-mile segment between downtown Dallas and Irving.
Thirty years after the historic vote, DART is one of the largest transit agencies in the Southwest, with the longest light rail system in the country. The multimodal network of bus, rail, paratransit and HOV lanes generates nearly 105 million passenger trips a year.