The effort to extend Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s Orange Line to Dallas Fort Worth Airport got a little easier this week after a $120 million federal loan was approved for the project. The money, approved Thursday by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, is part of the federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act. It will give DART flexibility in extending the Orange Line five miles north and west to DFW’s Terminal A area, where the airport is already building a station where passengers can disembark.
DART is on course to open the final Orange Line segment by December 2014, spokesman Morgan Lyons said. It’s a $397 million expansion. On DFW’s west side, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority is working to extend the proposed TEX Rail/Cotton Belt commuter line to Terminal B by 2016, and is seeking a federal grant to cover up to half the estimate $960 million cost. The T’s line would connect with DART’s Orange Line.
“This investment will continue expanding Dallas’ Orange Line, creating jobs and delivering a major transportation project that will help the regional economy continue to grow and prosper,” LaHood said in a statement.
Since 1996, the U.S. Transportation Department has committed $796 million for DART’s Orange Line and Green Line – clearing the way for the Dallas agency to build a 90-mile light-rail system that covers much of the greater Dallas area.