Monday, February 29, 2016

Catching Up on the Cotton Belt

It's been a while since I've written about the Cotton Belt rail line, that dream of east-west mass transit through Richardson, connecting everything from Wylie to D/FW Airport. That's because the Cotton Belt line remains more dream than reality.

It's not that nothing is going on. The Dallas Morning News's Brandon Formby recently gave an update. Formby says DART is pursuing a staged approach. "The first would run trains from the airport to Addison before 2035. The second would then finish the route from Addison to Plano."

Former Richardson mayor and current DART board member Gary Slagel is featured in Formby's story, meaning that Richardson's interests should be well represented. But having rail service from D/FW Airport stop in Addison doesn't sound like it's in Richardson's interest, even if it's only temporary. Maybe half a loaf is better than none. Or maybe Slagel knows that any plan that starts construction of even a partial line to Richardson increases the chances of completing the rest of the line. I have to trust that Slagel knows what he's doing. He'd better. The Cotton Belt rail line is the single most important infrastructure project in Richardson's future economic interest.

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