Honkin' Mad

This Fort Worth transit official made sure TEXRail got built. Now he’s stepping down

For many Fort Worth transit officials, completing TEXRail — a commuter train project that took years of proverbial blood, sweat and tears — felt like winning a championship.

And now that the commuter trains are finally up and running, Scott Mahaffey, who has served as Trinity Metro’s board chairman for more than six years, has decided to step down from his position with Fort Worth’s transit agency.

“Sometimes it’s better to win the World Series and step away, rather than play another year,” Mahaffey told fellow Trinity Metro board members, before announcing that he wouldn’t seek reappointment from the Fort Worth City Council. Mahaffey told the board that he had notified Fort Worth Councilman Brian Byrd, whose district Mahaffey represents on the board, that he would not seek reappointment when his term expires in September.

Mahaffey has been at the helm of the policy-making board since 2013, when the Fort Worth City Council — tired of years of delays in getting the nearly $1 billion commuter line built — replaced nearly the entire board of Trinity Metro (then called the Fort Worth Transportation Authority) to speed up the TEXRail project.

The project did speed up, and within a couple of years was approved for federal funding and under construction.

The train service finally began moving passengers in January, connecting riders to downtown Fort Worth, North Richland Hills, Grapevine and DFW Airport.

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Trinity Metro Chairman Scott Mahaffey speaks during the TEXRail Golden Ticken Train Ride celebration on Monday, December 31, 2018, in Fort Worth. Amanda McCoy amccoy@star-telegram

By the end of its first year, TEXRail is expected to carry roughly 8,000 passengers per day — more than the Trinity Railway Express, which opened in 1996 and operates from downtown Fort Worth to Dallas.

Also, Trinity Metro is pursuing a possible extension of the TEXRail line further south and west into Fort Worth, possibly connecting to the medical district and Texas Christian University in the next few years.

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Gordon Dickson joined the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1997. He is passionate about hard news reporting, and his beats include transportation, growth, urban planning, aviation, real estate, jobs, business trends. He is originally from El Paso, and loves food, soccer and long drives.