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Digest: Dallas council approves light rail subway project

By | March 25, 2021

News Wire Digest second section for March 25: Del Mar, Calif., councilman calls for end to commuter rail operation; Vermont in discussions to restore Amtrak service

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Map of proposed Dallas D2 subway line
Map of proposed Dallas D2 subway line
The proposed D2 project would add five light rail stations in downtown Dallas, three of them underground. (Dallas Area Rapid Transit)

Dallas City Council approves $1.7 billion ‘D2’ subway project

The Dallas City Council has approved building a new light rail route through downtown including a subway section with three underground stations. WFAA-TV reports the council also said it would support Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s effort to obtain an $800 million Federal Transit Administration grant to help fund the $1.7 billion project. The new segment, known as the “D2” project, would be served by both the Green and Orange light rail lines, could see the start of construction after 2022 and be operational in 2028. In all, the 2.4-mile line would include five new stations.

Del Mar, Calif., councilman calls for end to Coaster, suggests coastal rail line is not worth saving

A city councilman in Del Mar, Calif., has called for an end to Coaster commuter train service, suggesting there is no need to save the rail line threatened by erosion of the Del Mar Bluffs. KGTV News reports councilman Dan Quirk said, “When I look at the ridership numbers I’m asking the question is the train even worth saving at this point? … Ridership numbers and freight numbers are incredibly low and we’ve got technology with Tesla and Uber with self-driving cars. It’s not here today but in 10, 15, 20 years, that’s the time frame we’re talking about for a potential tunnel, I think that technology is going to be pretty advanced,” There has been discussion of an inland tunnel to replace the current coastal rail route, but the most recent estimate places the cost of that proposal at $3 billion. The Coaster had annual ridership of 1.4 million prior to the pandemic; the route is also used by BNSF freight trains and Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner, which carried more than 2.5 million passengers in 2019, with Los Angeles-San Diego as its most traveled city pair. Del Mar officials have been involved in a fight with the Coaster’s parent agency, the North County Transit District, over the district’s efforts to put a fence along the route to stop trespassers [see “Digest: STB delays action …,” Trains News Wire, Nov. 30, 2020].

Vermont in talks to restore Amtrak service

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott says the state has had “preliminary discussions” with Amtrak about restoring passenger service in the state, but no date has been said. The Associated Press reports Scott made the comment Tuesday during his regular coronavirus briefing. The state’s two trains — the Vermonter, from Washington, D.C., to St. Albans, and the Ethan Allen Express, between New York City and Rutland, have been suspended since last year. Vermont Agency of Transportation spokeswoman Amy Taiko said talks to restart the services are in progress: “We hope to make an announcement within the next several weeks as to what a timeline will look like.”

8 thoughts on “Digest: Dallas council approves light rail subway project

  1. Sigh – Del Martians being Del Martians… Traffic Jams are coming back on I-5 through Del Mar Heights and advocates for going to all electric autos haven’t thought through the raw materials issue.

  2. So if the technology of self driving cars is 10, 15, or 20 years away, how does the Del Mar councilman propose dealing with the I-5 parking lot in the meantime? I have driven this stretch many times and is usually a parking lot in various segments, One time it took me 5 hours to drive this 110 mile segment. Never a fun drive.

  3. Isn’t this the same line as used by Amtrak? What is the politician suggesting, that the uber-successful Amtrak route also go away?????

  4. The problem with Uber and self-driving cars is that they will only increase auto traffic, first by allowing people who can’t drive or don’t own a car to use cars for travel and second by adding more ‘return’ mileage between one drop off and the next pickup. I don’t think the Navy will be too pleased about losing rail access to San Diego. Del Mar has had a problem with trains for years, in particular by asking for that $ 3 billion tunnel to bypass the town.

  5. I am sure the fine politician from Del Mar is just speaking for the property owners along the right of way who don’t like the train going by their houses overlooking the beach. I seriously doubt that he gives a fig about the traffic on I-5 and what it would be like with another 1000 trucks a day on it.

  6. Del Mar is massively wealthy so people there just think “public transport? What on EARTH is that!?”

    And self driving cars are not the solution to any problem, except perhaps bad drivers. It doesn’t solve traffic problems and electric cars are only as clean as the electricity used to charge them. If it comes from coal (to be fair most electricity in CA does not) then you’re just moving the pollution.

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