Dallas-Ft. Worth (RAILTRAN Phase 2)

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Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas

(November 1996)

Description The RAILTRAN project is planned to provide commuter rail service between Dallas and Fort Worth along an existing freight rail corridor which was purchased by the cities in 1984 with Federal assistance as directed by Congress. In 1994, the cities and the local transit agencies, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (T), entered into an Interlocal Agreement under which the transit agencies would jointly develop and operate the commuter rail service on the corridor. Phase 1 of the project, which extends 10 miles from downtown Dallas to South Irving, is being constructed by DART. Phase 2, which extends 25 miles from South Irving to downtown Fort Worth, is being constructed by the T. Phase 2, the subject of this profile, also includes the Fort Worth Intermodal Transportation Center. Phase 2 is estimated to carry 10,200 passengers a day and to cost $129.01 million (escalated dollars). Phase 3 of the project would ultimately route the service through the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.


Section 3035(x) of ISTEA directed FTA to negotiate and sign a multiyear grant agreement with the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth in the amount of $5.7 million for preliminary engineering and construction of improvements to the Dallas/Fort Worth RAILTRAN System. Through FY 1997, Congress has appropriated $26.53 million for this project.

The RAILTRAN project is included in the MPO's adopted metropolitan transportation plan and transportation improvement program, both of which are in conformance with the state implementation plan for air quality. The Phase 1 operating segment has been completed and service is scheduled to begin in December 1996. The Phase 2 operating segment began final design in 1996 and is concurrently proceeding with property acquisition and rolling stock procurement under approved grants. Phase 2 is scheduled to begin service in July 1999.

Justification Mobility Improvements. The RAILTRAN project would provide commuter rail service to the downtowns of Dallas and Fort Worth and the cities in between. Phase 2 is expected to save approximately 730 hours of travel time per day compared with the TSM alternative.

Cost Effectiveness. The cost-effectiveness index is $8 per new rider (1995 dollars, year 2010 riders).

Environmental Benefits. Dallas/Fort Worth is a "moderate" non-attainment area for ozone and an attainment area for carbon monoxide. It is estimated that the project would reduce regional pollution emissions by 136 tons per year for carbon monoxide, 30 tons per year for hydrocarbons, and 38 tons per year for nitrogen oxide.
Operating Efficiencies. In the Dallas-Fort Worth corridor alone, the operating costs per passenger are estimated to be $3.24 for the TSM alternative and $2.93 for the commuter rail alternative.

Phase 1 of the project was fully funded with local, Section 5307 and CMAQ funds. No Section 5309 New Start funds were involved.

The capital funding plan for Phase 2 assumes a 46 percent Section 5309 New Start share. Other Federal funds would come from the Section 5307, CMAQ, Highway Demonstration, and STP Enhancement programs. Funds from a dedicated sales tax and other local revenues constitute 23 percent of the financial plan.

The capital finance plan is rated "medium." The local sales tax funds and other local revenues are already dedicated to the project. Cash reserves are available to fund the local match.

The stability and reliability of the operating plan is rated "low-medium." The plan assumes that operating and maintenance costs will grow more slowly than past trends at a time when new service is being introduced. The projected farebox recovery ratio of 50 percent is high compared with other U.S. commuter rail operations. In 1994, the average age of the bus fleet was 9.5 years, which is slightly above the national average.


Source of Funds

Total Funding ($million)
Section 5309 New Start $58.85 ($26.53 million appropriated through FY 1997)
Flexible Funds 18.80
State: 21.08
Local: 30.28
TOTAL $129.01
NOTE: Funding proposal reflects assumptions made by project sponsors, and are not DOT or FTA assumptions.