Councilman Chris Putnam wants residents to know that the commuter rail line that would move through the city is not a done deal.
The Colleyville City Council hosted various officials to discuss the TEX Rail project at the Nov. 5 pre-council meeting. A member from the Texas Transportation Authority, or the T, and a representative from the North Central Texas Council of Governments along with a consultant spoke about the future commuter rail that will cut through Colleyville in its Fort Worth to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport route.
Putnam has opposed the plan, which has been in the works for years, due to concerns of increased noise and a negative impact on property values.
“There are absolutely political solutions if you are opposed to this project,” Putnam said. “It is not fair to convince these folks that there are any other alternatives.”
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The project is looking to receive $446 million from the federal New Starts grant, but has not yet received that money.
Tom Shelton, the Council of Governments’ senior program manager, said TEX Rail has already been approved at the federal level and while the monies have not yet been awarded early signs have those involved confident.
“By some recent early indicators things look good,” he said. “And the recommendation is to add it into this year’s budget.”
Mayor Pro Tem Mike Taylor asked what options does the public have if they do not want it, and Shelton said the plan included public feedback in the process but is now complete.
The T plans to have a public forum in 2015.
Eight residents attended the public meeting with concerns about the project, but refused to talk for this story. One resident who did not want to be named shared her worry that homes near the railroad may lose their marketability with commuter service expected to begin in 2018.
While some residents in Colleyville may oppose the project, neighboring cities are in favor of the project including the City of Grapevine which is contributing a portion of its sales tax to the project.
Putnam also questioned the reasoning for the rail, citing the environmental impact statement from the T, which says traffic parallel to the rail’s route would not change substantially.
“If it’s not solving a traffic problem why are we spending $900 million,” Putnam asked.
Shelton said a rail brings other benefits, but did not answer Putnam’s question. He instead said he is involved in the project from a technical standpoint, not a policy one.