Grapevine mayor: City stands to benefit from Plano DART extension

Plans to advance funding for the Cotton Belt line passed 13-2 at a Sept. 12 Dallas Area Rapid Transit board meeting.

Plans to advance funding for the Cotton Belt line passed 13-2 at a Sept. 12 Dallas Area Rapid Transit board meeting.

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Prior to the debut of TEXRail on Jan. 10, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a $908 million loan was awarded to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit System to connect the DART to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. This system would be built along the Cotton Belt line and would supply east-west rail connecting downtown Plano to DFW Airport. TEXRail connects DFW Airport to Grapevine and several other stations on its route to Fort Worth.

The Cotton Belt Corridor Regional Rail Project is a 26-mile passenger railroad extending from DFW Airport eastward to the Plano/Richardson area, covering three counties and seven cities. The project will be constructed primarily within the existing DART-owned railroad right of way. The tracks are currently used for freight rail service.

TEXRail service brings passengers from downtown Fort Worth to the DFW Airport. When complete, the Plano DART extension will bring passengers from Plano to the airport, where they are able to connect to places such as Grapevine and Fort Worth, and vice-versa, through TEXRail.

"The funding of this project is a real win for North Texas and couldn’t come at a better time," Grapevine Mayor William D. Tate said in a statement. "The additional travelers that come as a result of this expansion will have the opportunity to take advantage of our historic downtown area and Grapevine Main station, creating a positive economic benefit that will ultimately accrue to our residents."

The Cotton Belt rail project scope includes upgrading the existing track to meet passenger rail standards, converting single-track configuration to double-track, building 10 new stations along the 26 miles, and acquiring eight vehicles. The current TEXRail system includes passenger rail along 27 miles with nine stations.

"The excitement over the start of TEXRail is even greater than I anticipated, and the expansion will make for even better connections, allowing our residents the ability to travel seamlessly across the DART system," Tate said.

Construction is expected to be complete in 2022.
By Miranda Jaimes

Editor, Frisco & McKinney

Miranda joined Community Impact Newspaper as an editor in August 2017 with the Grapevine/Colleyville/Southlake edition. In 2019 she transitioned to editor for the McKinney edition. She began covering Frisco as well in 2020. Miranda covers local government, transportation, business and nonprofits in these communities. Prior to CI, Miranda served as managing editor for The Prosper Press, The Anna-Melissa Tribune and The Van Alstyne Leader, and before that reported and did design for The Herald Democrat, a daily newspaper in Grayson County. She graduated with a degree in journalism from Oklahoma Christian University in 2014.



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