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U.S. Department of Transportation Announces $908 Million Loan to Finance the Cotton Belt Corridor Regional Rail Project

Friday, December 21, 2018

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao today announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau (the Bureau) will provide the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) System a $908 million Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) direct loan for financing the Cotton Belt Corridor Regional Rail Project.

“This financing demonstrates the Department’s commitment to serving as a trustworthy partner to regional and local agencies, which are at the forefront of developing infrastructure solutions to meet the needs of their communities,” said Secretary Chao.

The Cotton Belt Corridor Regional Rail Project is a 26-mile passenger railroad extending from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport eastward to the Plano/Richardson area, covering three counties and seven cities.  The project will be constructed primarily within the existing DART-owned railroad right-of-way.  The tracks are currently used for freight rail service provided by short line and regional carriers.  

The project scope includes upgrading the existing track to meet passenger rail standards, converting single-track configuration to double-track, building ten new stations, and acquiring eight vehicles.

The Cotton Belt Corridor Regional Rail Project is expected to improve mobility, accessibility, and system linkages to major employment, population, and activity centers in the northern part of Dallas, which has long been identified as a heavily congested area in need of additional capacity and mobility solutions.  When operational, the project will provide a cross regional route linking DART’s Red, Green, and Orange lines, as well as the Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) A-Train. 

The Bureau, which administers the RRIF credit program, was established as a “one-stop shop” to streamline credit opportunities, while also providing technical assistance and encouraging innovative best practices in project planning, financing, delivery, and monitoring.  To date, including this loan, the RRIF credit program has closed approximately $6.3 billion in financings.

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DOT 85-18