Summer is over, and as we gear up for the fall, we wanted to bring you an update on one of our most exciting new transportation projects, the D2 Subway. DART is preparing to submit a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) by September 8, 2017. Here’s a quick refresher on the three routes for the D2 Subway, the type of funding we are seeking from the federal government, and what’s next in the process of making this subway a reality.
Three Routes, Three Choices
DART has identified three different routes
for the D2 Subway to take between two connection points. The D2 Subway will travel beneath these three streets connecting between Victory Station and another at Swiss Avenue.
- Pacific Street
- Elm Street
- Commerce Street
DART has worked with different community groups, stakeholders, and the public to identify which route would work best for downtown Dallas and North Texas. We are evaluating each route. Keeping in mind the feasibility, cost, and flexibility of each route, we are digging deeper into the costs and funding options for the D2 Subway. Here’s what we know so far:
How are we paying for this?
- Current DART cost projections have the Elm and Commerce alignments totaling upwards of $1.3 billion. The cost of the D2 Subway includes payment for right-of-way when we tunnel underneath businesses, navigating around underground obstacles, and the materials and labor associated with building the tunnel.
- The Pacific alignment may cost significantly less, approximately $950 million. This is due to DART owning some right of way above ground, eliminating compensating business owners and disruptions to companies along the route.
While we are working with Congress to continue the grant program designed for this type of project, however, if the grant program is not available, we have developed approaches to pay for D2 without the use of federal funding. Thanks to consistent and conservative financial management, DART has sufficient local debt capacity to build D2 without federal support. But as we always do, we’ll keep looking for the best way to fund and finance our capital projects.
For the D2 Subway, the FTA’s Core Capacity Program
offers funding whose requirements fit the D2 Subway. We are seeking approximately a 50/50 funding split, based on the total cost of the D2 Subway, and guidance from the FTA. We must ensure that our project remains competitive in comparison with other system submittals.
How Does Legislation Affect the FTA and Funding for the D2 Subway?
As we’ve mentioned before, legislation does impact federal funding programs
like the Core Capacity Program. The federal budget is typically decided by the House and Senate in early fall. While the President's proposed budget included elimination of these funds, nothing is definite until Congress passes a final budget. DART will continue to research funding opportunities in case federal funding for the Core Capacity Program is eliminated. Capital Appreciation Bonds (CAB) are another funding path DART may consider if federal funding is not an option.
What’s Up Next for the D2 Subway?
DART has been working diligently with the community to find the right LPA for the D2 Subway. Based on the input received, the Planning Committee of the DART Board directed staff to prepare the FTA submittal using the Commerce Street alignment. The Board will take action on the LPA in September following Dallas City Council action. We’ll continue to post updates on the D2 Subway as we move through the process.