Ground breaks for TEX Rail project

A train-shaped cake was served at the TEX Rail groundbreaking event.

Photo by Samantha Calimbahin

Ground has broken for the highly-anticipated TEX Rail that will connect downtown Fort Worth to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

“We just have the opportunity to push the ball across the proverbial finish line,” Mayor Betsy Price said at a groundbreaking ceremony Aug. 24. “That’s what we’re going to do, but really this isn’t a finish. This is just the beginning.”

Price, along with other officials like U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey and Fort Worth Transportation Authority President and CEO Paul Ballard, escaped the 93-degree heat and held the groundbreaking event indoors at the T&P Station, ceremonially turning dirt in what Ballard called a “large kitty litter box.”

“It’s August, it’s Texas, we didn’t know we were going to be competing with rain, although today is nice, so we thought we’d do this indoors,” Ballard said.

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The T&P Station will serve as one of the stations for the TEX Rail.

The event was one of three ceremonies that took place that day. The other two were held in Grapevine and North Richland Hills – both cities where the TEX Rail will pass through.

“We’ve seen how these projects can breathe life into areas that have been long-forgotten and that have been overlooked,” Veasey said. “That’s what we have to continue with this level of cooperation, continue to push hard and work together so we can grow Fort Worth and the rest of the area for the future.”

Developed by the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T), the TEX Rail is a 27-mile commuter rail line linking downtown Fort Worth, North Richland Hills, Grapevine and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport’s Terminal B. The rail line is expected to open in 2018.

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The rail is projected to transport more than 8,000 passengers each day at its start, with an anticipated growth to 13,000 passengers daily by 2035, according to a news release.

A full-length ride from Fort Worth to the airport would take about 55 minutes, traveling at speeds up to 59 miles per hour, according to the release.

“It’ll just be a matter of time before we say ‘all aboard,’ ” Ballard said.