Arlington voices support for high-speed rail but won't join a transportation authority – yet

Arlington has voiced support for high speed rail, a step needed if they wanted to be considered for a high speed rail station in Arlington.
Arlington has voiced support for high speed rail, a step needed if they wanted to be considered for a high speed rail station in Arlington. Japan Central Railway

With mounting pressure to commit to a high-speed rail line between Dallas and Fort Worth, city officials said they are exploring forming a local government corporation with the other cities along the proposed route.

Mayor Jeff Williams said the city is committed to high-speed rail, but he stopped short of agreeing to join a local transportation authority such as Dallas Area Rapid Transit or the Fort Worth Transportation Authority.

The local government corporation would include Fort Worth, Dallas, Grand Prairie and Arlington.

"The City Council commits to become a founding member of a local government corporation, formed to complete high-speed rail service in North Texas," Williams said in a statement. "Once it becomes clear high-speed rail is definitely going to happen, the City Council will call for an election regarding membership on one of the regional transportation authorities."

The Fort Worth council approved the formation of a local government corporation for high-speed rail last May. Fort Worth officials have said the earliest a train could travel between Fort Worth and Dallas is 2023 or 2024.

During an afternoon council meeting Tuesday, the city showed four possible locations for an Arlington high-speed rail station. Three were near Globe Life Park and Globe Life Field, the current and future Texas Rangers stadiums. The fourth was along the north side of Interstate 30.

The North Central Texas Council of Governments has been asking Arlington to join or contract with one of the local transportation authorities if it wants to be included in the $5 million rail line environmental impact study. The council of governments is the agency coordinating the DFW portion of the high-speed rail project.

Michael Morris, the North Central Texas Council of Governments direction of transporation, said Arlington's committment to join a local government corporation "meets our criteria." Arlington will now be included in the environmental impact study and will have time to see if the Dallas to Fort Worth line is viable before committing to join a transportation authority.

Both Williams and Morris said it would be at least two years before Arlington would have to make any decision about joining a transportation authority.

On Monday, Dallas City Council member Lee Kleinman, chair of the council's mobility solutions committee, told The Dallas Morning News that city officials were getting impatient with Arlington's and Grand Prairie's hesitation with joining one of the transportation authorities.

"Clearly, it's a signal to Grand Prairie and Arlington: We're moving forward and we're not waiting on them," Kleinman said.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.