As we utilize the latest technology, the ongoing challenge will always remain our ability to provide old-fashioned customer service in a fast-paced 21st century environment.
Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T)
The Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T) primarily operated one mode — bus — until December 2001. That was when it completed the Tarrant County extension of the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) to downtown Fort Worth, making The T an official multi-modal system. The first
commuter rail in the Southwest, the TRE is jointly owned and operated by The T and Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) along a 35-mile east-west corridor between Dallas and Fort Worth.
The T had the foresight to eliminate potential problems of merging bus and rail by creating an Intermodal Transportation Center (ITC) in downtown Fort Worth to coincide with the TRE’s arrival. The ITC also has grown into a major downtown focal point the past few years as The T added other modes — Amtrak, Greyhound, taxicabs and Enterprise rental car.
Based on the TRE’s success, The T made additional rail a pivotal part of its long-range strategic plan in 2005, consistent with the North Central Texas Council of Governments’ recommendation for a network of 10 more commuter rail lines — four of them to be in Tarrant County.
The problem we faced was how to finance it on our own. All the cities in Tarrant and surrounding counties, except one, were at the state-mandated sales tax cap, so they couldn’t levy a tax for a new rail. Even with the groundswell of our entire region’s support, it did not look likely that the state legislature would change this law soon.
One of the rail corridors identified by NCTCOG was along 40 miles of existing track running from Southwest Fort Worth northeast across Tarrant County to Grapevine, and into Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. A commuter rail along this corridor could also serve riders beyond Tarrant County by connecting with TRE service in downtown Fort Worth, to a future DART light rail line at the airport, and to potential rail networks further west identified in NCTCOG’s long-range plan.
The T is well underway with its new rail line. The alternative analysis was completed in the fall of 2006, and we began our environmental impact study in June 2007.