Plano forms tax zone to generate up to $12.3M to build DART stations along Cotton Belt line

Plano Marine, the possible site of a new 380-unit apartment community, is located south of downtown Plano near a proposed rail station.

Plano Marine, the possible site of a new 380-unit apartment community, is located south of downtown Plano near a proposed rail station.

Two tracts of land near downtown Plano have been designated as a new tax increment finance, or TIF, zone with the anticipation it will generate millions in revenue for the construction of two new passenger rail stations in the area.

Plano City Council voted unanimously Dec. 18 to establish the new TIF zone, with one tract of land near a future station at the intersection of 12th Street and K Avenue and another near the future Shiloh Road station.

The zones will allocate 50 percent of the revenue generated by property tax revenue growth in the respective tracts of land for the future Cotton Belt line, Plano Special Projects Director Peter Braster said. Dallas Area Rapid Transit expects to begin construction on the future east-west-running line in 2019.

The TIF zone will end when its fund balance reaches $12.3 million or by the end of 2038—whichever comes first, Braster said.

Council Member Anthony Ricciardelli said he had initial hesitations about approving the formation of the new TIF zone, but he ultimately found it effective in reinvesting tax revenue into its respective zone.

“[The TIF zone] protects the city in the sense that DART serves many areas, and these funds that would be contributed through the TIF will be spent in the TIF zone,” Ricciardelli said. "Even though I still have trepidation about whether the cost benefit of the Cotton Belt project has been fully vetted, I think that these stations are certainly worth the $12.3 million that we could end up paying for it."

The DART board of directors voted unanimously Dec. 11 to approve an $815 million design-and-build contract with Archer Western Herzog for the Cotton Belt line. That revenue is anticipated to come from a loan from the federal government, which has yet to be disbursed.
By Gavin Pugh
Gavin has reported for Community Impact Newspaper since June 2017. His beat has included Dallas Area Rapid Transit, public and higher education, school and municipal governments and more. He now serves as the editor of the Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake edition.


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