GRAPEVINE -- The proposal to bring back streetcars to central Fort Worth may have been snubbed in its effort to win federal stimulus funds, Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley said.
Fort Worth and Dallas submitted a $96 million joint application for federal TIGER grant funds for their respective streetcar programs -- and on Wednesday (the first anniversary of the Recovery Act) Dallas was awarded $23 million.
Fort Worth got zilch, Whitley said. However, Whitley said officials were still checking into whether the money can be used for streetcar planning in both cities. The award actually goes to the North Central Texas Council of Governments, the official planning body for the whole region.
If Fort Worth doesn't get a slice of the pie, Whitley said the culprit would be petty politics. Tarrant County is SLIGHTLY redder than Democrat-blue Dallas County. He said it was time for people in both parties to start working together to solve transportation problems.
"You happen to be in the reddest of counties," Whitley told about 500 people at the Northeast Tarrant County Transportation Summit Wednesday morning in Grapevine. "The only county redder than Tarrant County in the U.S. is Orange County in California. The happenstance that we were eliminated I'm sure is coincidental. We've got to stop the partisanship. We've got to start going what's best for the region, and stop putting up with this ..."
One other explanation may be that the award was meant for both cities, but that Dallas was the only city listed ... perhaps an oversimplification, often held by many nonresidents that the entire North Texas region is "Dallas."
In Fort Worth, the idea would be to reconnect the downtown area with the museum district and medical district with electrified streetcars -- modernized versions of the trolleys that were removed from the area decades ago.