DART board greenlights Cotton Belt, downtown Dallas subway

The DART Board of Directors greenlighted plans for a rail line between Plano and DFW Airport and a subway line in downtown Dallas on Tuesday.

DART has said it can find the money to do both, but some people are keeping a close eye on where the priority will be placed if money becomes an issue.

The DART board voted on its long term financial plan on Tuesday in front of a packed house, with people taking sides and sporting their team's color. People in yellow were in favor of the Cotton Belt commuter rail line from Plano to DFW Airport. Folks in green supported the D2 subway in downtown Dallas.

“We wanted to stand united and have people understand the extent to which people were advocating for a D2 subway and the concerns people had about the Cotton Belt,” said Matt Tranchin, Coalition For A New Dallas.

DART has been lobbied by city leaders from the northern suburbs to speed up plans for the Cotton Belt commuter rail line, while the board is under simultaneous pressure from the Dallas City Council to prioritize a second line through downtown.

The majority of DART’s board on Tuesday night maintained it can afford to do both.

“I'm hoping that you'll not buy into this false narrative that you have to choose between D2 and the Cotton Belt,” said Ivan Hughes, Dep. Mayor Pro Tem, City of Addison. “I see that it's a false narrative, we can do both and your financial folks have said that.”

Cotton Belt supporters say the vote is a win for both projects.

But the Dallas City Council sees it differently. Dallas councilmembers at the meeting said spending on the Cotton Belt will put a federal grant for D2 in jeopardy and delay the project in Dallas.

“I guess everybody needs to hope that they're right, but a lot of people looked at their financial plan and didn't agree that it had the kind of capacity to do all of that, that they think it does,” said Sandy Greyson, Dallas City Council.

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