The North Central Texas Council of Governments' Regional Transportation Council has revised its policy to favor high speed rail between Dallas and Fort Worth which effectively eliminates a hyperloop connection from consideration. In another rail issue, the NCTCOG presented a study to the Plano City Council this week that outlines the benefits of extending rail service to McKinney from the existing Parker Road DART rail terminus.
No hype for hyperloop
The Regional Transportation Council (RTC) voted unanimously to move forward with planning for high-speed rail between Fort Worth and Texas, shelving any further study of hyperloop technology. Brendon Wheeler, NCTCOG Transportation Planner, said that the technology is still in the developmental stage. Wheeler said there is no current path for approval of hyperloop use and would delay development of the Metroplex region's corridor.
NCTCOG will now determine if the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) or the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will be the lead agency in moving environmental studies forward. The plan to date would place the high-speed rail corridor within the Interstate 30 right-of-way.
Plano to McKinney - an 18 mile extension proposed
Michael Morris, Director of Transportation for the Regional Transportation Council, presented an expansion study to Plano city officials that outlined benefits of extended the current DART Rail line from the city north to McKinney. Morris said there are two options. One would extend the current Red Line from McKinney to downtown Dallas or extend the Silver Line, now under construction, from McKinney to DFW International Airport.
It is estimated the extension would carry 7,000 to 8,000 riders a day by 2045. Construction is pegged between $700 to $800 million dollars. Seven new stations would be constructed as part of the line. Watch the presentation here.
At the meeting Morris said that if he had to pick one rail corridor to built next it would be the Plano to McKinney line. Local officials noted that transit oriented development around new stations would have a positive impact on the economy. Morris indicated that local officials in McKinney want to advance the extension, which would parallel U.S. 75, to connect the city to Plano.
DART already owns most of the right-of-way along the proposed corridor, which was previously used for freight rail operations.
Morris told Plano officials "You are in the fastest growing part of the country and you will not be able to solve all your transportation needs on the backs of the automobile."