The 45-mile Green, Orange and Blue Line Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) rail expansion is projected to generate more than $4 billion in economic activity between 2009 and 2014, according to a new study by economists at the University of North Texas. Including prior Green Line expenditures, the total economic activity is more than $5.6 billion.
The study, -- "Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Dallas Area Rapid Transit Light Rail System Buildout and System Operations" -- conducted for DART by Drs. Terry Clower and Bernard Weinstein of the UNT Center for Economic Development and Research, also determined the expansion will create 32,095 job-years of employment, or an average of 6,400 jobs each year for the next five years. Separately, ongoing operations of the multimodal transit agency will generate $663 million in annual economic activity and more than 5,300 jobs.
"Dallas Area Rapid Transit's light rail operations continue to be one of the best examples of the growing importance of transit, in all modes, to sustainable economic and community development," the researchers said.
The economists added, "Importantly, DART's construction activities have continued even with the downturn in the local economy, increasing the relative importance of the jobs associated with this construction. Of course, these impacts pale in comparison to the value of property development that has occurred around or near DART transit rail stations as described in previous analyses."
Studies by Weinstein and Clower and additional reports by local officials have identified more than $8 billion in transit-oriented development projects that have opened, are under construction or are planned along DART rail corridors.
DART rail will double in stages to 90 miles by 2013. The heart of the project is the 20 station Green Line, the longest light rail project under construction in North America. The first section of the Green Line is scheduled to open September 14, 2009.
Altogether, the Green, Orange and Blue line projects are expected to add 60,000 weekday passenger trips, nearly doubling ridership on the DART rail System.