photo courtesy of The T
A. Lee Graham
The Fort Worth Transportation Authority’s board of directors plans to take action at its Aug. 12 meeting to designate the first phase of the multi-phased TEX Rail commuter rail project.
If approved, the action would enable TEX Rail to reach Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport as soon as possible, while maintaining The T’s ability to get federal New Starts funding of $380 million.
“We are excited to officially designate the first phase in our commuter rail project,” said Scott Mahaffey, chairman of the authority, or The T, board in a news release.
“It has become apparent that a phasing of the project will permit The T to begin this initial segment as soon as possible,” Mahaffey said.
The proposed action by The T’s Board would designate the Minimal Operable Segment (MOS) of TEX as the locally preferred alternative. The MOS is the phase of the project running from the T&P Station in downtown Fort Worth across northeast Tarrant County to Grapevine and into DFW Airport.
“The FTA [Federal Transit Administration] has emphasized that New Starts grant funds are limited, and we are responding to those constraints by beginning with the segment identified in our project all along as our first phase” said The T President Dick Ruddell.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, who has advocated comprehensive commuter rail service, voiced support of following the FTA’s guidance in order to keep the local grant request in good standing.
“We put The T Board in place to advance this project despite the obstacles that may stand in their way,” Price said.
“Moving forward with the MOS is doing just that. While the funding for TEX Rail continues to be a moving target, we simply have to start somewhere. Connecting downtown to DFW Airport has been and will continue to be our top priority. After the successful implementation of this first phase, I’m confident that future phases to extend the service will follow,” Price said.