At its monthly meeting Thursday in Arlington, the Regional Transportation Council is scheduled to consider a request from Colleyville officials to delay, disrupt or destroy the TEX Rail commuter rail line between Fort Worth, Grapevine and the north entrance to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.
As with most other items on its agenda, the council has scheduled 10 minutes for discussion and action on Colleyville’s request.
That’s too much time.
The RTC’s 44 members, who are elected or appointed officials from the 16-county North Central Texas Council of Governments and representatives of the region’s largest transportation providers, should quickly reject what Colleyville is asking.
Many Colleyville residents and their elected leaders don’t want the TEX Rail line.
We get that.
TEX Rail trains will ride on Cotton Belt Line tracks that have run through Colleyville for decades.
Many of the city’s residents say they do not intend to ride those trains, and they fear “negative impacts to property values, noise, safety, traffic, general character, and way of life in Colleyville,” according to a resolution approved by the City Council on May 17.
We respect their opinions and sympathize with their desires, but we cannot agree with what their political leaders are trying to do.
Because they don’t want TEX Rail to run near the homes they built next to the railroad tracks, they are doing their best to scuttle a transportation project that’s clearly best for the region.
The RTC has a 50-year history of private- and public-sector requests for passenger rail as one of the solutions to the region’s transportation problems.
Colleyville requested and received “quiet zones” at the rail crossings in the town, so the TEX Rail trains will not be blowing their horns as they roll through.
Specifically, the Colleyville council wants RTC members to reconsider their agreement in May to offer $80 million in interim financing for TEX Rail construction should it be needed before expected federal funding comes through.
The RTC can easily afford to make the loan from its regional toll revenue accounts.
The Fort Worth Transportation Authority, which is building TEX Rail, would repay the loan with interest by next April 15.
Failing cancellation of the loan agreement, the Colleyville council requests that the council of governments and the RTC “put the project up for public referendum in the November 2016 general election.”
No. That train has left the station.