The Fort Worth Transportation Authority on Monday evening agreed to use sleek, modern rail cars on the proposed TEX Rail/Cotton Belt line, even though the fancier vehicles will cost the agency about $25 million more than old-fashioned passenger car sets. The T board voted unanimously agreed to note the change in rail cars in its application for federal funds for the proposed commuter line, which would run 37 miles from southwest Fort Worth to Grapevine and DFW Airport. The goal is to open the service by 2016. The eight new sets of rail cars are expected to cost $88 million. But T chief financial officer Rob Harmon said the newer vehicles are far more efficient than the older cars – such as those running on the Trinity Railway Express – and would save the agency roughly $4 million a year in operating expenses. To help offset the costs of buying the new cars – known as diesel multiple units – the T is getting a combined $55 million in financial help from the Regional Transportation Council and Texas Department of Transportation.
– Gordon Dickson