Throwback Thursday: DART circa 1997

How did DART look in 1997? It was a tad different than than 700-square mile, 90-rail mile behemoth that it has become today. Before we take a look at the year 1997 for DART. Why is this year an important one for public transit as a whole?

The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 was the last time the Highway Trust Fund, which financially supports mass transit projects (including DART’s), saw an increase in the gasoline tax. It has been 13 years since lawmakers acted on how the Highway Trust Fund receives money. The 18.4 cents taxed per gallon of unleaded gasoline has gone unchanged since then.

Now, let’s revisit DART’s highlights from 1997:

  • DART extends the light rail system six miles northward along North Central Expressway between downtown Dallas and Park Lane and includes the 3.5-mile subway to Mockingbird Station.
  • DART opens the three-mile long extension of its Blue Line through the South Oak Cliff section of Dallas to Ledbetter Station.
  • DART expands its previous diesel fleet of buses with the approval to purchase 433 new buses, including 110 which will operate on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
  • DART and NorthPark Center begin a six-month trial of the NorthPark Center Executive Shuttle. Today it’s one of DART’s busiest routes.
  • DART opens the CBD East Bus Transfer Center – the second of two such facilities in downtown Dallas.

DART has changed a lot since 1997. But we’re in danger of our progress being stifled. The Highway Trust Fund is running out of money, and public transportation agencies need access to those funds to pay for new capitol projects and maintain infrastructure.

DART urges lawmakers to pass a new long-term, fully funded surface transportation bill that increases investment to support our nation’s transportation infrastructure. To join us and to contact our Congressional delegation, please visit: http://voicesforpublictransit.org/.

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