Contact: Amy Bernstein
WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood yesterday approved a nearly $120 million loan that will enable Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) to advance construction on the third phase of its light rail Orange Line extension project. The extension, which will connect Irving, Texas, with Dallas Fort Worth Airport (DFW), is part of a long-term effort to create a 90-mile light rail network by 2014 to serve the Dallas metropolitan area.
“This investment will continue expanding Dallas’ Orange Line, creating jobs and delivering a major transportation project that will help the regional economy continue to grow and prosper,” said Secretary LaHood. “It’s all part of President Obama’s vision of rebuilding America, providing commuters and visitors with a variety of transportation options to fit their needs.”
DART’s $119.9 million Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan will help finance the $397 million Orange Line Phase III expansion. The 35-year direct loan will be used to fund construction of a key 5.17-mile segment of DART’s 14.5-mile light rail Orange Line. Once completed, the expanded line will improve east-west connections between DFW and the DART system by connecting to the Green Line that runs through downtown Dallas as well as to other transit services, including commuter rail.
“The TIFIA program is instrumental in helping Dallas realize an ambitious goal to complete one of the largest light rail systems in the country,” said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff. “Bringing the Orange Line to DFW will connect millions of residents and visitors with the heart of downtown Irving and Dallas, while reducing congestion and improving air quality.”
Since 1999, the TIFIA program has helped 30 projects turn $10.4 billion in credit assistance into $41.8 billion in infrastructure investment across America. The new surface transportation law, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), transforms TIFIA into the largest transportation infrastructure loan program in history, making available up to $17 billion in credit assistance for critical infrastructure projects. The Department of Transportation has committed a total of approximately $796 million since 1996 to help DART build the Green and Orange Line portions of an extensive light rail system. On December 3, DART opened two new stations on the Orange Line to Irving and one new station on the Blue Line, expanding light rail transit options from Garland to Rowlett. The number of trips on the Green Line more than tripled between Fiscal Years 2010 and 2012 and in its first three months of operation, the Orange Line provided more than 910,000 trips.