More momentum builds for TEX Rail

To the possible disappointment of some people in Colleyville who still oppose the project, leaders of the Fort Worth Transportation Authority, the T, are building momentum for TEX Rail trains between downtown Fort Worth and Dallas/Fort Worth Airport’s north-end Terminal B.

Colleyville opponents say they don’t like the idea of TEX Rail trains bringing noise and disturbance to their community, and one of their hopes is to derail federal funding for the project.

Fortunately, their hopes are thin. The ability to move people efficiently between key points in Dallas-Fort Worth is becoming more crucial with every day of population growth, and the Fort Worth-DFW connection is one of the most crucial.

Even though the federal funding, approximately half of TEX Rail’s expected $862 million cost, is not yet approved, it is close enough that the T board has contracted for eight self-propelled diesel rail cars.

Including engineering costs and other expenses, the cost of the cars is $106.7 million. The T has options to purchase more cars.

With each car self-propelled, a locomotive won’t be needed. They are said to have a smooth ride, much like streetcars.

In contrast to the sentiment among some in Colleyville, neighboring North Richland Hills and Grapevine are pushing hard for TEX Rail.

The T board approved a $527,590 contract with Urban Engineers to design two TEX Rail stations in North Richland Hills. One is planned for the northwest corner of Loop 820 and Iron Horse Boulevard, while the other is on Smithfield Road between Mid-Cities Boulevard and Main Street.

North Richland Hills does not have room on its sales tax allocation to devote to membership in the T, but city leaders are working on innovative ways to pay.

One is to devote the expected new tax revenue from development around the stations.

TEX Rail still has a long way to go. The T is aiming to start the 27-mile service in 2018, with an expected initial average daily ridership of 10,000.

The project has enthusiastic support among leaders in Fort Worth, as well as those in North Richland Hills and Grapevine.