The North Central Texas Council of Governments will partner with Dallas Area Rapid Transit in seeking more federal funding for the regional Cotton Belt Trail project.

What happened?

Regional Transportation Council members greenlit a federal grant application for up to $12 million that would fund part of the regional trail project during a June 13 meeting. If awarded, the money would fund construction of nearly 3 miles of trail, according to a staff presentation.

The Cotton Belt Trail is a proposed 57-mile trail that will link several cities, including Grapevine, Coppell, Richardson and Plano, according to the NCTCOG’s website. Part of the trail will run along the 26-mile Silver Line Rail project, which is also under construction. DART oversees design and construction for the Cotton Belt Trail and Silver Line Rail projects between Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and Plano.

The details

If awarded, the grant would fund about 2.9 miles of trail construction in Addison, Coppell and Dallas as part of the project’s third phase. Engineering and design is underway on portions of the trail that have not been constructed yet, Senior Program Manager Karla Windsor said.

“Unfortunately there’s been increasing construction costs, so that’s why we have taken a strategy of diversifying our options to bring money to this project,” Windsor said.

The NCTCOG and DART are applying through the Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program, which emphasizes rail-to-trail projects, according to a staff presentation.

“If you want to build a trail and it's next to a rail, you should apply to this project,” Windsor said.

About the project

The Cotton Belt Trail is split into three phases. Construction on the first phase is already underway while the second phase is slated to head to the procurement phase this fall.

Nearly 21 miles of the trail already exist between Grapevine and Fort Worth. Nearly 22 miles are already funded for construction. About 15 miles still need funding for construction, according to the NCTCOG’s website.

Also on the agenda

The RTC approved up to $1 million for three air quality and safety demonstration projects:
  • Car Care Safety Integration program: The program aims to educate the public about the importance of vehicle safety components and maintenance.
  • Vehicle Emissions Inspection and License Plate project: Project officials will purchase license plate reading cameras to gather data and determine the rate of fake license plates in the region.
  • Truck Assessment and Goods Movement program: Program officials will assess severity and impact of emissions tampering in heavy-duty diesel trucks operating within the region.
The RTC also elected three new officers for the coming year. The new officers include:
  • Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, chair
  • Johnson County Commissioner Rick Bailey, vice chair
  • Lewisville City Council member Brandon Jones, secretary