the offical newsletter of DALLAS AREA RAPID TRANSIT - Spring/Summer 2011
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DART FY2010 Financials
(2.0MB PDF file)

Agent of Change
A letter from the DART Chairman of the Board.

Transforming How We Travel
With the opening of the Green Line on December 6, DART now shifts much of its focus to operating the vast multimodal transit system, improving the customer experience, upgrading buses and trains, and increasing ridership.

Leading the Rail-volution
Construction of the Orange Line to Irving and the Blue Line to Rowlett is well under way, and planning continues for additional light rail and modern streetcars in downtown Dallas and commuter rail along the Cotton Belt Corridor.

Taking a Regional View to Growth
The continued growth of the Dallas-Fort Worth area has led to increasing traffic congestion and air pollution, leading cities throughout North Texas to consider bus and rail transit as a strategy to improve mobility.

Improving the Work Experience
Employee communications, professional and personal development initiatives strive to make DART an employer of choice. Education, diversity and outreach programs illustrate the agency's commitment to the communities DART serves.

Adopting New Business Models
Updated financial projections initiated a comprehensive review of operating, capital, and debt service expenses, resulting in a new business model that resets the expansion timeline, seeks efficiencies, and uses resources more effectively.

Short Trips
Green Line earns industry accolades; Agency hailed as design-build leader; Whitewater park created near station; DART CIO helps lead IT consortium; Quick-read codes link to TVM video; Transit attracts young professionals.

DART Board of Directors

DART Current and Future Services Map

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Adopting New Business Models

The endurance of the national recession continued to impact the regional economy in FY 2010. The downward trend in spending and related unemployment affected both sales tax revenue and passenger fares.

In Spring 2010, DART asked two independent economists, to re-examine sales tax projections supporting the agency's 20-year Financial Plan.

An analysis showed that despite an eight percent growth in population, DART sales tax receipts had not increased over the last decade. Coupled with changing demographics and growth outside the DART Service Area, the agency is in a long-term limited revenue growth phase.

'The paradox is that DART will have to grow bigger and get smaller simultaneously,' says David Leininger, DART senior vice president and chief financial officer.
Chief Financial Officer David Leininger and staffers Kimberly Williams and Robbie Crockhom discuss the ways to reduce costs.

Trimming the Budget

FY 2011 is a year of evolution as the agency moves toward operating the vast DART System according to new financial realities.

"The paradox is that DART will have to grow bigger and get smaller simultaneously," says Leininger. "Fiscal Year 2011 is a time of major transition that requires a profound, fundamental change to the agency's business model, affecting all aspects of DART's expenditures: operating, capital, and debt service."

Agency officials conducted a comprehensive review of its operations, administrative and future capital expenses based on the new projections.

A revised 2030 Transit System Plan includes the following measures:
  • Deferring construction of future capital projects
  • Widening light rail headways
  • Restructuring bus routes to match lower ridership demand
  • Reducing the workforce through programmed vacancies, normal attrition, early retirements, and a planned reduction in force

Issuing Debt for Future Growth

In October, DART issued $825 million in bonds supported by sales tax and farebox revenue, which includes $100 million of tax-exempt refunding bonds and $725 million of taxable Build America Bonds (BABs).

Instead of issuing $400 million in debt in FY 2011 and FY 2012 respectively, the agency accelerated the entire sale to take advantage of the interest-rate subsidy for the BABs program before it expired at the end of 2010.

"We were able to get an excellent long-term interest rate of 3.27 percent by issuing the bond package through the BABs program," says Leininger, "and DART will save approximately $200 million in interest as a result."

In preparation for this offering, DART earned a AA-plus rating from Standard & Poor's and an Aa2 rating from Moody's Investors Service.

Sales Tax Receipts Comparison by Financial Plan
Revised projections for the next 20 years suggest a slower rate of growth in revenues from the DART sales tax.

Sales Tax Receipts Comparison by Financial Plan chart

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