Fort Worth council approves plan for joint rail effort with Dallas

The Fort Worth City Council authorized the creation of a multijurisdictional local government corporation with the City of Dallas and other local government entities for the DFW Core Express High-Speed Rail Connection between Fort Worth and Dallas.

“You find yourself in Fort Worth, literally, at the crossroads of high speed rail,” said Michael Morris of the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NTCOG) in addressing the council in its work session.

Morris added that some people believe Fort Worth is a critical piece in the promotion of a statewide and national high speed rail transportation system.

Morris said the same technology that has been in place in Japan for the past 50 years is the blueprint example. He noted that the high speed trains in Japan run on time 99 percent of the time and have reported no fatalities.

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Along with a high speed system that would get travelers from Fort Worth to Dallas in a matter of minutes, Morris said the hope is to include Houston, Austin and San Antonio in the routes.

NCTCOG has retained Gateway Planning Inc. on behalf of Fort Worth to evaluate possible station sites and those recommendations should be presented to the council in June.

The proposed route between Fort Worth and Dallas would also have a stop in Arlington.

A $15 million environmental impact study of the proposed route will be ready in early 2018, officials said.

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“This is a critical part of Fort Worth’s future,” Mayor Betsy Price said. “We’re not going to be able to pour enough concrete to accommodate all the traffic.”

Price compared the inclusion of Fort Worth in the high speed rail project to the importance of the location of the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. She noted that had the airport been built east of Dallas, Fort Worth would have been excluded.

The Dallas City Council is expected to vote on the plan in late May.

Costs for the high-speed rail between the cities have not been determined.