Study: DART Rail Expansion added $7.4 billion into local economy

DowntownRowlettStationPassengers

The expansion of the DART Rail System has pumped $7.4 billion into the regional economy, added more than 54,000 yearly jobs and greatly increased the value of properties surrounding DART Rail stations, according to two studies released today from the Center for Economic Development and Research at the University of North Texas.

DART Rail Expansion Bolsters Economy

Experts from UNT looked at DART’s spending between 2003 and 2013 when the light rail system grew from 44 miles and 34 stations to 85 miles and 61 stations. During that time, DART’s capital spending on light rail development was almost $5.63 billion ($4.7 billion in inflation-adjusted 2013 dollars). That capital spending generated $7.4 billion in regional economic activity and accounted for more than 54,000 person-years of employment, which added another $3.3 billion into the economy in the form of labor income.

Looking forward, DART’s capital spending will increase to an inflation-adjusted $5.6 billion through 2017 after the completion of the Orange Line to DFW Airport and the Blue Line extension to the University of North Texas at Dallas, which will ultimately add $8.8 billion to the regional economy.

Read the complete study: Through Recession and Recovery: Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Capital and Operating Spending by Dallas Area Rapid Transit

DART Rail Attracts Billions in Development

In a second study, UNT researchers found that since the 1996 opening of the DART Light Rail, more than $5.3 billion has been invested in transit-oriented development within a quarter-mile of DART Rail stations, which includes projects that have been completed, under construction or have been announced.

This development includes multifamily, office, retail, industrial and single-family properties that contribute to the local economy tax rolls.

When compared to a control group, the study found that development near DART Rail stations are more valuable ($1.5 billion compared to $600 million), produce greater tax revenue ($36 million compared to $14 million) and also carry a 14-percent higher lease value.

Read the complete study: Developmental Impacts of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Light Rail System

Check back in the coming days for deeper dives into more specific elements of both studies.

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