Media Relations Contact:
September 28, 2001
Expansion on Track
DART Board Approves $606.3 Million Budget
After doubling ridership in five years to nearly 100-million passenger trips, DART's Board of Directors has approved a Fiscal Year 2002 budget that keeps DART moving full speed ahead.
In the coming year, DART continues the largest multimodal transit expansion program in North America. To do that, the agency's total budget for FY 2002 is $606.3 million, down from $729 million in FY 2001. The decrease is primarily due to lower capital spending as the Northeast and North Central rail corridors near completion.
"DART's commitment to improving regional mobility, enhancing the quality of life and stimulating economic development can be seen in our FY 2002 Business Plan," said DART President/Executive Director Gary Thomas.
"Our ridership keeps growing and customers tell us they like the job we're doing," Thomas said. "It's also encouraging that our riders say they recommend DART to their friends and co-workers. This budget will help us maintain our position as a national model for multi-modal transit."
DART's current light rail construction is on schedule. On September 24, light rail service expanded to the White Rock Station on schedule and on budget. Additional rail station openings in Richardson and Garland in 2002 and Plano in 2003 will double DART's Light Rail System with 24 new miles of rail extensions and 14 stations. The Trinity Railway Express line will connect downtown Dallas and downtown Fort Worth during FY 2002; and 11 new miles of HOV lanes open south of downtown Dallas along I-35E and U.S. 67 to I-20 in the second quarter of FY 2002. Now 99 percent wheelchair-accessible, DART's bus fleet will be 100 percent accessible in 2002.
As the expansion continues, final plans for 37.7 miles of light rail for the Northwest and Southeast corridors are underway. Planning is underway for a light rail extension to Rowlett, an additional light rail line through Dallas' Central Business District and an extension to the Blue line connecting Ledbetter Station with Interstate 20. A two-year update of DART's 2025 Transit System Plan also is being conducted, along with a long-range rail planning and implementation study for D/FW Airport.
DART President/Executive Director Reorganizes Top Management
To keep the agency focused on its core business, streamline management and increase efficiency, Thomas made changes to DART's organizational structure effective October 1. Changes include the establishment of an Executive Leadership Team with responsibility for the areas of Operations, Administration and Program Development. This team reports directly to Thomas.
Members of the Executive Leadership Team include Victor H. Burke, executive vice president, Operations; Ben Gomez, executive vice president, Administration and Doug Allen, executive vice president, Program Development.
"These are challenging times for DART and our region. As we embark on another milestone year of transit development, we must keep projects on track while improving operations and expanding services. I'm confident this team has the experience and skill to accomplish those objectives," Thomas said.
-- 30 --