March 2, 2023 - TRA Newswire -
Delays to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Silver Line project, pushing back completion to late 2025 - early 2026, could cost taxpayers $150,000 a day. That estimate came from DART President and CEO Nadine Lee during a joint meeting with the City of Dallas Transportation and Infrastructure committee.
Lee blames slow movement on permits from city staff for the ongoing delays and cited that some construction plans took 290 days to get a response from the city. Lee said "we have been trying to work with city staff to get all plans reviewed and approved within the 10-day period that is required."
The city had expected to receive from DART about $111 million in excess sales tax revenue that would be used for transportation related projects. However, late-stage design comments, permit delays, additions requested by the city and others will add $33 million to the project. The slowdown adds about another $50 million, which will come out of the city's share of the tax surplus, according to Lee.
The rail line is a design-build DART project that has contractors working on some phases of the construction while other portions are yet to be started. There have been a significant number of city requests to make changes over noise concerns from some North Dallas homeowners that bought their residence near the railroad tracks, traffic safety issues and changes over storm rainwater runoff. Homeowner groups in the North Dallas neighborhood, where the trains will pass through, had been fighting to kill the project for over a decade.
When completed, the Silver Line will operate Diesel Multiple Unit trains built by Stadler between Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport Terminal B through northern Dallas county to southeast Plano. The line will have connections to DART's Green Line in Carrollton and the Red and Orange Lines in northern Richardson. The line was originally scheduled to open in 2024.
Lee indicated that DART is still getting design comments from the city even this late into the construction phase. "Please help us get to a resolution so we can get this project done", she said. "As a professional engineer I have never seen a project have to revisit so many issues at this stage of the design."