Dallas has a well-earned reputation as a can-do city that aims high and more often than not hits the target. Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is widely recognized as a highly innovative, well-governed, and capably managed transportation authority that has aggressively expanded service over the years, including putting in place the country’s largest light-rail network. And regional cooperation – spearheaded by the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) – is alive and well in the DART service area.
So it’s not surprising that the Dallas Streetcar opened for business on April 13, but getting this stellar example of intergovernmental cooperation off the ground wasn’t by any means a piece of cake, as DART President/Executive Director Gary Thomas ( a member of this blog’s CEO Advisory Committee) and long-time DART Board member William (“Bill”) Velasco explain in this informative new podcast. In a nutshell, representatives of the City of Dallas and DART had been brainstorming the possible resurrection of streetcar service in the city over the course of several meetings when NCTCOG’s obtaining a TIGER grant really got the ball rolling. And the City of Dallas, owner of the Dallas Streetcar line, wisely contracted with DART to put its substantial expertise and successful track record to work in designing and constructing the new line, which DART now operates under contract to the City.
According to Bill and Gary, the initial leg of the Dallas Streetcar has been so successful that the second leg (extending the route to the Oak Cliff Bishop Arts District) is expected to be completed by early 2016, and the third segment is currently being planned.