Dallas/Fort Worth Airport is another step closer to building a TEX Rail station, but it will be a couple of years before Fort Worth residents can ride a train all the way to the airport terminals.
The airport is negotiating with the Fort Worth Transportation Authority, also known as the T, to spend $40 million of airport funds to build a station near Terminal B. On Thursday, the airport board is expected to vote to allow the airport staff to execute a formal agreement with the agency.
“The TEX Rail line will provide us another means for access into our airport and another way for our customers to reach the world,” said Khaled Naja, executive vice president for airport development and planning.
TEX Rail is a planned 27-mile commuter rail project that will connect downtown Fort Worth and DFW Airport. It will include stops in North Richland Hills and Grapevine and is expected to cost over $1 billion to construct, although half of the funds may come from the federal government.
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Two stations will be on airport property, Naja said, although the T will fund the construction of the DFW North Station, to be north of Texas 114 and west of Texas 121 in Grapevine, plus the rail lines needed at the airport. The Terminal B station will have a walkway connecting to the existing Dallas Area Rapid Transit station next to Terminal A. DART began running trains between the airport and Dallas in 2014.
The construction schedule is still being finalized, but DFW anticipates having the Terminal B station completed by November 2018. Construction could begin this fall, the airport said.
The airport has worked on adding regional rail options to its terminals for more than two decades, said John Terrell, vice president of commercial development at DFW. As the airport continues to add international flights, foreign passengers often expect multiple transportation options out of the airport.
“There is an expectation globally of rail transport from your airport,” Terrell said, adding that several international airports have mass transit from terminals into city centers.
The airport expects to complete negotiations next month and have an agreement for the airport board to approve in August, Naja said. The Fort Worth and Dallas city councils will also have to approve the agreement, likely by the end of summer.
If the airport board authorizes action on the agreement Thursday, it will mark another milestone in the agency’s application for federal funding for the project, said Bob Baulsir, the T’s vice president for railroads and procurement. The T received a letter this week from the Federal Transit Administration giving the agency the green light to begin buying materials, such as steel and rail cars, for the project.
Baulsir said TEX Rail will give airport employees another way to get to work and allow travelers flying into DFW an easy way to get to downtown Fort Worth. For Metroplex residents, it will also be a convenient way to get to their flights.
“I am going to ride the train to the airport and it will be so much better than being in traffic on [Texas] 121 in my car,” Baulsir said.