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April 20, 2011

Cotton Belt line: How to pay for rail-oriented development

Cotton-plant Belt A proposal to develop walkable communities along the old Cotton Belt rail line in places such as Fort Worth, North Richland Hills, Coppell and Carrollton got a boost on Wednesday. A bill that would expand the authority of cities and counties to create special tax districts to raise money for such projects saw no opposition during a hearing in a Senate transportation committee. The bill by state Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, is supported by many agencies, including the Fort Worth Transportation Authority. The T wants to develop its TEX line, a proposed commuter rail line from southwest Fort Worth to Grapevine and Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. Others in the region want to extend that line further to the north and east, to cities such as Dallas and Plano. The idea would be to build neighborhoods where many basic needs such as groceries could be met within walking distance, and residents could use the rail line to gain access to jobs and other needs further out in the region.

-- Gordon Dickson, gdickson@star-telegram.com

Twitter: @gdickson


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