Securing funding for large Capital Investment Projects like D2 can be a complex process. Before the DART Board and DART decided to pursue a subway design for D2, DART was seeking a 50 percent match, or approximately $325 million, from the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA’s) Federal Capital Investment Program to help cover the project’s original $650 million estimated total cost. D2 as a subway will cost significantly more than the above-ground light rail option, so DART is reassessing the cost and scope to accommodate this new design and determine how much of the expanded budget can likely be met with federal funding.
A Balancing Act
DART is committed to balancing the design, construction, and cost of the project throughout the process of refining a new Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA). Our goal continues to be providing the best transit solution for North Texas at the most reasonable use of taxpayer dollars. DART depends on federal funding to finance our larger capital planning projects, but these dollars only cover a portion of the cost of a project like D2. The portion of the cost not covered by federal funding will be covered by taxpayers throughout DART’s service territory, and DART wants to be sure they are not left paying an unreasonable bill.
Funding D2 As a Subway
The original $650 million LPA received a medium-high grade from the FTA, which means DART had a high probability of receiving the amount of funding requested to build D2 as a mostly above-grade light rail. The FTA assigns grades based on the competitiveness, viability, cost, and timeline of any given project, and DART must submit an updated LPA that accounts for both design and cost changes, as well as make a funding request that gives DART the highest probability it will receive federal funds. Significant increases in the amount of funding DART asks for or the schedule of the project could impact the FTA rating and the amount of funding the D2 project ultimately receives. We will continue to update local stakeholders and the public as we refine the LPA and receive additional feedback from the FTA.
We’re All In This Together
DART must resubmit the D2 LPA by September 2017, and determining the new estimated cost and funding strategy for a D2 subway will take time. We will continue to need everyone – stakeholders, taxpayers, and our civic leaders – to work with DART during the planning process so we can secure the right amount of monies needed to build a subway that integrates effectively with our entire North Texas system, current and future. If you have questions or comments regarding D2 planning, email us at D2@DART.org.