Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and City Council members want a Fort Worth Transportation Authority Board to bring in a senior rail executive to steer the TexRail project to completion and focus The T tightly on commuter rail.
The City Council is moving to turn over the entire T board and appoint replacements, possibly all Tuesday.
The T board and City Council have a joint meeting Feb. 20. “I expect that the message at that meeting will be that we hope they’ll bring in a top notch rail executive,” Price said during a visit to the Star-Telegram’s editorial board this afternoon.
She said she wants the T to communicate better with the city, and she acknowledged the city’s communications problems lie more with the T staff.
“Our leverage is with the board,” she said.
The pressures are numerous, Price said. Fort Worth is the nation’s 16th largest city.
“We’ve just got to get beyond cars and buses,” she said. “We’ve got to think about the rail project if we’re to remain a big growing city.”
Dallas Area Rapid Transit is coming into D/FW Airport this year, she noted.
“If you’re a tourist coming in or a business traveller coming and you’re used to not renting a car and just getting on a train, if you can go to Dallas, you’re going to go to Dallas,” she said.
Grapevine, a partner in TexRail, which will go from southwest Fort Worth to D/FW Airport through Grapevine, has been pressing for progress.
“The pressure is for us to get to the airport and to go through Grapevine, who now has $50-plus million in the project,” Price said.
Depending on funding available – the T is applying for federal money – and progress in acquiring track rights from thier owners, Price said it was possible TexRail might initially have to start at downtown go to the airport. The Southwest run would come later.
“I think that’s a very strong possibility,” she said.
- Scott Nishimura, Star-Telegram Fort Worth City Hall reporter
- Gordon Dickson, Star-Telegram transportation reporter