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Dart Rail Expansion

In: Business and Management

Submitted By rbourge12
Words 2106
Pages 9
Collin County is flourishing with profitable businesses, notable schools, and endless opportunities for the people living there. Because of this, Collin County’s population is growing and expanding exponentially. With an increase in population and success though, comes congestion and transportation downfalls. This is where a proven public transportation system must step up to maintain a fluid and affordable way for the population to continue traveling with ease. The Dallas Area Rapid Transit, or DART, is a transportation system located in Dallas, as well as twelve surrounding cities. It easily helps our community commute from Point A to Point B. DART Rail is the chosen transportation method for thousands of passengers. The year 2012 marked 250 million passenger trips since its opening in 1996. Currently the DART Rail is the largest electric light rail system in the nation covering a total of 90 miles with 62 stations. DART is a proven transportation system that not only eases congestion, but simplifies our community’s travels. Currently, DART Rail has five major lines; The Red, Blue, Green, Orange Lines, as well as the Trinity Railway Express. The Red Line extends from Parker Road Station to the Westmoreland Station. The Blue Line goes from Downtown Rowlett Station to Ledbetter Station which is south of Dallas. The Green Line is from North Carrolton/Frankford Station to the Buckner Station. A passenger can also take the Orange line and reach DFW airport, hassle free, and avoid leaving their vehicle in an unattended, but very expensive parking lot.
We propose to expand DART rail trains from Firewheel to Beltline. This would not only allow people to commute a greater distance without the hassle of a car and traffic, but would also allow , further access to DFW Airport and other major attractions. Our community is going to need additional DART rails to keep up with our growing population and traffic congestion. There is no better alternative than depending on an already established and dependable transportation system.
Expansion Location The planned expansion of the DART Rail System named “Comet Rail” will extend 32.85 miles, incorporate 12 stations and six cities. Comet Rail will allow patrons to travel from Firewheel Town Center in Garland, TX to DFW International Airport after connecting with Belt Line Station, an existing orange line station, and continuing west to the next stop on the orange line. The first station on the Comet Rail expansion will be Firewheel Station. Firewheel Station will be located in Garland, TX on the northwest corner of President George Bush Turnpike and Highway 78, across the street from Firewheel Town Center. This will allow for an easy commuting point for residents of Wylie, Sachse, North Garland and the outlying towns.
Comet rail will extend west from Firewheel Station to it’s second station Campbell Station on the northwest corner of President George Bush Turnpike and Campbell Road in Garland.
From Campbell Station the Comet Rail will connect to an existing DART station, Bush Turnpike Station, at the southeast corner of President George Bush Turnpike and Highway 75 in Richardson, TX. At Bush Turnpike Station, Comet Rail will connect with the Red Line allowing patrons to easily transit to Parker Station in Plano, TX or downtown Dallas.
Continuing along the Comet Rail from Bush Turnpike Station patrons will reach the Northside UTD Station at the southwest corner of Renner Road and Synergy Park Boulevard in Richardson. Northside UTD Station will be a convenient stop for students and faculty of the University of Texas at Dallas, as well as Texas Instrument employees and others.
The Comet Rail will then continue from the Northside UTD Station to Coit Station on Coit Road between Maple Shade Lane and Plano Parkway in Plano, TX. Coit Station will allow easy transit for patrons to stop at the neighborhood Wal-Mart and Central Market; as well as, allowing residents from many neighboring apartment complexes an easy commute around the city.
From Coit Station Comet Rail will continue west to Preston Station located in the vacated Park Place Lexus dealership, at the southwest corner of Preston Road and Plano Parkway in Plano, TX. Preston Station will be a convenient and central location for West Plano, Frisco and North Dallas patrons as well as commuters working along Preston Road.
The next station on the line will be Willow Bend Station on the northwest corner of the Dallas North Tollway and George Bush in Plano, TX, with an expected Horizon North Parkway address. Willow Bend Station will be located just over a mile away from the Shops at Willow Bend, and easy access to many office buildings and apartment complexes.
From Willow Bend Station patrons will arrive at Frankford Station at the northeast corner of Frankford Road and President George Bush Turnpike in Dallas, TX. Near Frankford Station there are many restaurants and apartments and this location will allow easy access for all Northeast Dallas residents.
Next in line is Josey Station at the northwest corner of Josey and George Bush in Carrollton, TX. Josey Station will serve as a vital commuting point for the city of Carrollton and all people transiting on Old Denton Road and Josey.
Following Josey Road Station, Comet Rail will continue to Trinity Mills Station, an existing green line station, in Carrollton. Trinity Mills Station will allow patrons easy access to Denton, Love Field, Medical City and beyond.
Costs
Based on observations of past DART expansions, such as the 27.7 mile green line, we were able to estimate that there is a $32 million dollar cost per mile of expansion. The comet rail is expected to run 32 miles in total. Therefore, the cost of implementing the Comet Rail would come to an estimated $2.1 billion. The Comet Rail expansion is expected to overlap 3 already existing stations. The existing stations will reduce the cost of the expansion by saving both time and money. Therefore, the major expenses would be the land, labor and material needed to build the remaining 11 stations. The following budget contains a breakdown of the cost associated with the building of Comet Rail.

Expenditure | Total Cost | Land | $400,000,000 | Labor | $250,000,000 | Material | $300,000,000 | Planning and Development | $75,000,000 | Rail Development | $15,000,000 | Commuter Rail Operations | $7,500,000 | Marketing | $2,500,000 | Total | $1,050,000,000 |

According to the 2015 DART business plan, DART is primarily funded by sales tax revenue and federal grants. These sources would be used to fund half of the Comet Rail expansion, which would total $1.05 billion. However, the cost associated with expanding the DART rail would quickly be exceeded by the economic, environmental and social benefits that would follow.

Benefits

The Collin County population expects to grow from 850,000 people to 1.3 million people by 2035. It is also estimated that Collin County will be unable to keep up with the demand for highway construction to help reduce anticipated congestion. It is essential to expand the Dart Rails not only to assist in reducing traffic, but to also enact long-term benefits vital to future generations. DART is not only friendly on the environment, but also affordable for low-income families, as well as profitable for the business community. With the expected increase in population, coupled with shortfalls in transportation funding, it is vital to expand Dart Rails in order help maintain a fluid transportation system in Collin County. More frequently, businesses are beginning to enact green-thinking practices into their operations. This creates favorable opinions of their businesses from society and helps reduce the ever-growing pollution problem. In this world, vehicles are one of the largest pollutant creating devices. Cars and trucks are responsible for “one-fifth of all U.S. emissions,” and are estimated to emit 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other toxic gases per a gallon of gas. Pollution from cars will continue to increase as the population increases. If DART was expanded and became more accessible or convenient to a wider number of people, then more people would have the option to take the DART as opposed to a car. The DART rail also emits greenhouse gases, however, it is miniscule compared to a car. According to DART, dart rail trains have the “same emissions as a golf cart.” If one person per household chose public transportation over a personal car for one year, it would reduce that household’s carbon footprint by 8.1 percent. Making DART more accessible to a larger number of the population will also benefit individual households. It can be agreed upon that the expenses associated with owning a car controls a large portion of any average budget. Car expenses include the car note, insurance, depreciation, fuel, and maintenance work. In 2013, an AAA report concluded that the cost to operate a car per year averaged around $9,122. The monthly cost of a DART pass amounts to eighty dollars per month. The annual pass amounts to Eight-hundred dollars. Using DART is over ten times less expensive than operating a car. For low-income families, the prospect of owning a car is not financially feasible. This severely limits occupational opportunities. Expanding the DART rail trains would additionally allow an affordable way for low-income families to reach a wider range of job opportunities. Expanding the Dart rail will also entice more people to use the public transit system, because they will be able to go farther. One of the current drawbacks to DART trains is that it doesn’t reach enough places, which would make using DART pointless for a lot of people. Expanding the Dart rails also economically benefits the society as a whole as well as the government. It has been proven through real estate market databases that businesses located within a .25 mile radius of the DART rails can demand a “13.9 percent premium” on rental and leasing rates on office space. Businesses within this radius are also proven to produce a higher annual revenue which in turns generates a higher tax revenue for the government. In 2013, properties near the DART stations contributed an “estimated $36 million in taxes” to local governments compared to the “$14 million” in areas outside of the .25 mile radius around the DART stations. So, economically, elongating Dart rails will increase the value of surrounding businesses, create more job opportunities, and increase revenue for local governments.
Promotions

The new DART Rails we have added have a potential to generate a lot of revenue for the city. To help kick start the generation of this revenue stream, we have come up with some different promotions.
To help jump start the launch of our new lines, we would promote a “first ride free” day. This would serve to entice riders to come back and use the DART. With this first ride they will see how convenient it to use the DART with no risk (because it is free) and may incorporate it into their daily lives. In the grand scheme of things, revenue lost in this first day can be made up in the long run by riders convinced to continue using the DART. One promotion we came up with was for the Northside UTD Station We propose that students who ride the Northside UTD Station could receive a student discount. Student discounts will lead to more students riding the DART. The students who benefit most would be the ones that commute often. They will save a lot of money on gas, as well as not having to sit in traffic. Since UTD is predominantly a commuter school, this will be a perfect fit for their student body. Another promotion we came up with would coincide with local businesses. We would work out deals with companies that are close to our stations that employees that ride the DART will receive discounted prices. DART benefits with more riders which leads to more revenue, and help reduce their carbon footprint. Employers benefit because they also can “go green” as well as having happy employees. Employees benefit because they can save money on gas, and the added benefit of not sitting in traffic. Holiday promotions were another idea we came up with. On holidays, or any random weekend, children (12 and under) ride for free. The perks for this is children do not go places by themselves, so it’s a good way to get parents to take the DART and bring their kids along. It encourages them to go out and do activities with their children and DART benefits as well. Not only monetarily but DART will be perceived better by future riders.…...

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