The Dallas Forth Worth region needs to improve transportation capacity to respond to its massive transportation growth and has billions of dollars of new projects planned. DART’s billion-dollar Silver Line commuter line will connect many of Dallas’s northern exurbs to DFW airport, joining a suite of other rail investments that the region has made in recent years. The state Department of Transportation plans to spend $3 billion on new freeway projects in the region over the next ten years.
But as I discuss in a Manhattan Institute report, these projects may not be the fix DFW is looking for as the planned public transit investments have questionable merit. DFW suburbs are in general low-density and unwalkable, hardly promising regions for rail developments: previous rail expansions such as the DART Orange Line extension and TexRail have gotten precious little ridership. Much of the new freeway investment, meanwhile, focuses on highly peripheral or relatively uncongested areas. For instance, part of Interstate 820 that constitutes the eastern leg of the freeway loop around Fort Worth will get a billion-dollar widening — even though, by Metroplex standards, it is hardly congested. $800 million, furthermore, will go to widening I-35 in sparsely developed territory north of Denton, and other freeway widenings are also oriented at new, sprawling exurbs.
Photo by Art Wager/iStock