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Media Relations Contact:
Morgan Lyons

November 24, 2004

DART Northwest/Southeast Corridor Expansion moves forward without Love Field tunnel

DART's Northwest/Southeast rail expansion will move forward without a proposed rail tunnel serving the Love Field Airport terminal, agency officials said Tuesday.

The announcement follows a determination by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) that the alignment, with the inclusion of the one-mile, $160 million tunnel, would not be recommended for federal funding. The addition of the tunnel produced a low cost-effectiveness rating for the overall project, FTA Deputy Administrator Robert Jamison wrote in a letter to DART officials.

Despite the FTA's evaluation of the tunnel option, the 20.9-mile base alignment of the 35-mile light rail expansion moves forward with a "recommended" rating it received from the FTA in February. The base alignment will link Pleasant Grove, South Dallas, Fair Park, Deep Ellum, downtown Dallas, Dallas Medical/Market Center and Farmers Branch. Regionally funded extensions will serve Carrollton, North Irving and DFW International Airport.

Based on the FTA determination Tuesday, DART President/Executive Director Gary Thomas said planners will study other options to serve Love Field. "We appreciate the hard work of our staff and our partners at the City of Dallas, Dallas County, the North Central Texas Council of Governments, and the FTA to thoroughly explore the benefits of a Love Field tunnel. Despite the FTA decision, the overall expansion project enjoys broad support, it remains on track and that's important to the entire region."

To illustrate local congressional support for the Northwest/Southeast light rail expansion, Congress included $8.5 million in the FY 2005 omnibus appropriations bill. The funding will be used to advance design and real estate activities as DART pursues a $700 million Full Funding Grant Agreement request for the light rail expansion.

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