Monday, June 24, 2013

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

DFW Airport has been serving north Texas since 1974, yet still has no direct mass transit connections serving it. DART brags that from its Belt Line Station on the Orange Line, it's just a "short, 4-mile ride over to Terminal A via a DART bus."

To be fair, this might be the last year I can badmouth DART's lack of light rail service to DFW Airport. DART says it's "hard at work building a state-of-the-art light rail facility at Terminal A. The DART Light Rail service will arrive at its permanent, Terminal A station in 2014."

That's still just the Orange Line. Which is fine if you're coming from downtown Dallas. But what if you're coming from, say, Richardson? You'll be waiting a while longer than 2014. After the jump, the dismal outlook.

Unfair Park has the story on the chances of the Cotton Belt Line from Richardson to DFW Airport (or, even grander, Wylie to Ft Worth) ever getting built. Somewhere between slim and none, although Unfair Park's Eric Nicholson presents it in the more positive format of a "Plan B," now that the state legislature has killed a bill with tax incentives for private developers. Nicholson outlines six different ways the money can still be cobbled together to get the Cotton Belt Line built. None sound all that likely to me, but Nicholson concludes, "The Cotton Belt, in other words, is still very much alive." OK, then. I'll believe it when Mayor Laura Maczka tells us the date of the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Comet Town Station.

I tell you what other transportation project is still very much alive and, if I can mix metaphors, bearing down on Richardson like a runaway steam locomotive. This very real, very big other project has nothing to do with planes or trains. It's a project to sacrifice more money and land to automobiles. It's the project to widen US 75 from IH 635 in Dallas to SH 121 in McKinney. Pegasus News has the story.

TxDOT took its road show to Allen and Richardson last week to sell the public on its plans to increase capacity on Central Expressway by adding lanes. Although that's not how the meetings were billed. They were billed as a way of getting public input. But the end result is already clear. If you want to know what Central Expressway will look like in the 2020s, just look at what LBJ Freeway looks like today. Trying to stop a highway project is as hard as trying to get a mass transit project started.

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