The decision to extend DART light rail to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the world’s third busiest, was a comparatively easy one. Why wouldn’t you use the nation’s longest light rail system to connect millions of North Texans to the world, and millions of global travelers to the fourth-largest US metro area?
But DART has always pursued a broader vision.
The timing, technology, system and funding for a direct rail connection had to be right. That is where the DART Board – present and past — has been helpful. While all eyes have recently been on the airport, board members and staff needed to stay focused on building a system that would create connections to essential regional destinations. In other words, we needed to give visitors a reason to use DART Rail when they came here. We’ve done that.
Board members over DART’s 31-year history have worked diligently to establish a viable network serving high-value, heavily used corridors while maintaining a strong financial structure from which we could fund the final push to the airport. That’s been tough, especially over the past decade or so where our region has endured two deep economic recessions.
Board members and staff get lots of “help” in situations like that. Everyone seems to know the best way to advance the agency. Lots of that help comes in the form of suggestions about setting new priorities, moving one project ahead of the other. The politics are tough.
But by staying committed to a broad, shared vision, to build an multimodal system that serves the largest number of customers safely, efficiently and effectively, board members can work with staff to make better decisions for the communities they serve.