This story is part of our ongoing coverage of the 2023 budget season, where we take a deeper look at where our government agencies are putting their dollars and what that means for readers.
With transit ridership steadily climbing back up, Trinity Metro is hoping to spend $106.6 million to resume capital improvement projects paused during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The agency is using this opportunity to take on projects previously slowed down because of COVID-19, Trinity Metro Vice-President of Planning and Development Chad Edwards said.
“I wouldn’t say anything has really changed other than, obviously, there’s a higher awareness now of COVID and any kind of infectious diseases similar to that,” Edwards said. “As we do our planning and our engineering work, certainly at the front of our mind is, ‘All right, how do we address this going into the future?’”
Among the major projects is the TEXRail expansion of the rail line to the Medical District. The final design for the station is expected to be completed in either late 2022 or early 2023. Project completion is set for late 2026.
According to Trinity Metro, this two-mile extension will cost $167 million and will be funded with dollars from the city of Fort Worth, Trinity Metro and federal money.
The city of Fort Worth is committing $7.1 million to Trinity Metro’s $48 million. Federal funds will add $111.9 million to complete the project.
The North Central Texas Council of Governments is one of the agencies working with Trinity Metro and the city of Fort Worth to address long-range transportation goals that meet local and regional needs.
“Finding a way to be able to increase choice for transportation for all users, regardless of income, regardless of their location is what is what’s critical in making sure that as we continue to grow, everybody needs to be able to have that easy and affordable access to choice for transportation,” said Jeff Neal, senior program manager with the council of governments.
Trinity Metro also plans to complete a new TRE station, east of Loop 820 and north of Trinity Boulevard, called Trinity Lakes. The $26.7 million price tag will include design, management, construction, testing and startup of the station. It is expected to be open and operational by October 2023.
“It’s a big deal. It’s also got a lot of development that’ll be going around it. So that’ll be a way to also have a pool of folks that have other options, right in their neighborhood, to be able to get downtown or to be able to get to other destinations in the Metroplex with transit,” said Kelly Porter, assistant director of transportation and public works for the city of Fort Worth.
The new station will be part of a larger project to bring a transit-oriented development – with retail and residential – to the northeast side of Fort Worth.
“Right now, we recognize TEXRail and TRE are really commuter lines. And so long term, we will have a conversation about enhancing frequency along those travel times, to make them more useful,” Porter said.
Trinity Metro has also requested funds from the city of Fort Worth’s Pay As You Go funds to support eventual upgrades to the nearly 1,700 bus stops across the city. This project will cost $7 million over a span of three years and will add benches and shelters.
The city will be contributing $1.7 million out of its PAYGO funds for transit initiatives, which includes Trinity Metro’s request. Edwards said the agency has not yet determined which stops will be upgraded first. That will be decided based on frequency, location and equity.
“We continually review our system and review customer feedback and try to address those comments when we can. So it’s not a one-time effort for us. It’s a continual improvement process for us,” Edwards said.
Editor’s note: This story was updated on Sept. 9, 2022, to update Jeff Neal’s title.
Sandra Sadek is a Report for America corps member, covering growth for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter at @ssadek19.
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