Members of the Regional Transportation Council, a 43-member planning body, are being asked today to sign a non-disclosure agreement in order to get a peek at a private developer's confidential letter of intent to build the TEX Rail and Cotton Belt commuter rail project. It's a 62-mile long proposed commuter rail route that would connect southwest Fort Worth to DFW Airport, Addison, Plano and beyond - and the Fort Worth portion alone is expected to cost $758 million.
Last month, an unidentified consortium of companies submitted a confidential proposal to the North Central Texas Council of Governments to pay for a portion of the project. The deal hinges on allowing the developer to recover its investment through a variety of means - presumably from the development around train stations, and other nearby land. Also, there's a lot of talk about the proposal including creation of a manufacturing plant for the special rail cars that would be used on the line.
Most of the details surrounding the proposal are expected to remain secret until around Thanksgiving, but RTC members who have struggled for months to understand how private investment could speed up development of the rail line say they're now starting to feel a sense of momentum for the project.
"It sounds too good to be true," Bernice Washington, a Dallas Fort Worth Airport board member who serves on RTC, told council of governments transportation director Michael Morris. "You better stop talking before you convince me it is too good to be true."