The Office of Management and Budget and the Federal Transit Administration have approved a $700 million grant application for Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) that will go toward funding a $2.4 billion light rail expansion. When complete in 2013, the expansion will double the total length of DART’s existing rail system to 90 miles.
Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta is expected to give final approval after a 60-day review of the application is completed by Congress. Federal funds will come in the form of a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) that will pay for a 21-mile section of the project. About 11% of the funding, or $80 million, has already been included in President Bush’s proposed FY 2007 budget.
The FFGA, upon final approval, will enable DART to begin construction this summer on a southeast rail extension linking downtown Dallas with the communities of Fair Park, South Dallas and Pleasant Grove. DART Executive Director Gary Thomas said regional support and the rail system’s growing reputation as a “national model” have contributed to its success in securing federal support. He also cited $3.3 billion in private transit-oriented development.