The Panther Island Project is Fort Worth’s largest recipient of federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, receiving $403 million after years of delay and political pushback.
Officially known as the Central City Flood Control Project, it’s among several projects in Tarrant County and Fort Worth that received money from the historic $1 trillion bill tackling transportation, climate resiliency and broadband issues.
Here’s how much money Tarrant County and Fort Worth received in 2022 through the infrastructure law:
Trinity Metro gets $36.4 million
Serving a population area of over 1 million residents and spanning 410 square miles, Trinity Metro, Tarrant County’s public transportation provider, received $36.4 million.
The agency did not receive any competitive funding for targeted projects.
“We’re always disappointed when we don’t get funds that we apply for. But we also understand that there’s a lot of need out there. And that there’s always another opportunity,” said Chad Edwards, executive vice president of strategy, planning and development at Trinity Metro.
Local officials are hopeful the infrastructure funding will support plans to modernize the agency’s transit system and support projects like the TEXRail expansion to the medical district and even transit options to Panther Island.
Edwards said the agency is not expecting any delays in projects that sought this round of federal funding and is mindful of what type of funding is available for a project before it is pursued.
“We want to be good stewards of public money. It doesn’t do us any good to get people kind of riled up on a particular project when we don’t have the funding for it available or identified,” Edwards said.
Trinity Metro is hopeful that more money will be available starting in 2024, said Eva Williams, grants administrator for Trinity Metro.
“Our numbers will increase even more because they used the 2010 census for this round of funding because the new census data had not been finalized yet,” Williams said. “So our new census data is not reflected in the math that we will receive this year.”
The infrastructure law has benefited Trinity Metro in the past.
In 2021, Trinity Metro received a $6.5 million grant to upgrade its 26-year-old bus yard. Trinity Metro currently has a bus fleet of 143.
Another $12 million of federal money was awarded for the construction of the Trinity Lakes Station, one of Trinity Railway Express’ stops in Fort Worth. Its location is near Trinity Boulevard and Loop 820, in between the Bell and Richland Hills stations.
Major projects funded for roadways, bridges
Tarrant County has already received over $507 million in funding from the infrastructure law to help fund about a dozen road projects over the next 10 years, according to the North Central Texas Council of Governments. However, more opportunities for funding could come up in the future.
Major projects include widening parts of Loop 820, Interstate 20 and U.S. 287 also known as the Southeast Connector. Improvements to Texas 183, 199 and 360 are also on the list.
In an email to the Fort Report, Val Lopez, public information officer for the Texas Department of Transportation, said a lot of the funding was incorporated into the agency’s Unified Transportation Plan — TxDOT’s 10-year plan that guides transportation work statewide — and combined with state funds.
“This is different from the 2009 stimulus bill, which was money above and beyond normal federal formula funds. It is also different from any past earmark funding, where specific projects were frequently selected and called out, so to speak,” Lopez said in an email.
Local airports get $40.4 million
All three of Fort Worth’s airports — Alliance, Meacham and Spinks — received funding from the bill in 2022 and 2023. This money can be invested in runways, taxiways, safety and sustainability as well as terminal, airport-transit connections and roadway projects.
Alliance received $3.2 million, Meacham received $1.6 million, and Spinks received $587,000 so far in Airport Infrastructure Grants.
Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport also received $35 million to build a new zero-carbon central utility plant as part of its attempt to achieve net zero by 2030.
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