A Better DART Rail

DART gets big chunk of change from Uncle Sam for bigger rail platforms

DART gets big chunk of change from Uncle Sam for bigger rail platforms

DART rail downtown Dallas
DART's station platforms will be expanded to fit three-car trains. Courtesy photo

Dallas Area Rapid Transit just got a big gift from Uncle Sam: The 2017 budget includes $49 million for construction of DART's Red and Blue Line Platform Extensions Project. It's one of 31 transportation projects in 18 states recommended to receive a share of $3.5 billion in federal funding through the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Capital Investment Grant (CIG) Program.

"Since 2009, the Obama Administration has funded nearly 100 new and expanded mass transit projects in Texas and across the country," says U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "These projects transform communities, improving mobility and access to jobs, education, and other important opportunities for millions of residents.

"Public transit is an important ally in the effort to ensure that hardworking Americans are offered a chance to succeed in the 21st century economy."

DART Rail ridership has been increasing, resulting in crowding downtown during peak periods. The Red and Blue lines currently are limited to two-car train lengths because the platforms at 28 of the existing stations on these lines are only long enough to accommodate two-car trains.

The project will expand the platforms at these stations to accommodate three-car trains. The results: increased capacity and reduced crowding for passengers.

In addition to the fiscal year 2017 funding recommendation, the DART Red and Blue Line Platform Extensions Project is receiving nearly $9.6 million in "core capacity" funds, to improve capacity on existing, heavily used lines.

Dallas is not the only North Texas city on the list for fiscal year 2017 disbursements. Fort Worth will receive money as part of a $950 million package for seven projects not yet under construction, along with Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Ana, National Capital Area in Maryland, Minneapolis, and Seattle.