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Mobility Matters - Images of a freight truck traveling on a highway, downtown Fort Worth, a TRE locomotive, downtown Dallas skyline and highway traffic; Celebrating 35 Years of Regional Transportation Excellence, 1974 - 2009

A-train Opens New Frontier for Denton County Commuters
Keeping Transportation on a Path to Tomorrow
      A Message from Michael Morris, Transportation Director

Harmon, County Eye Long-Awaited Opening of Chisholm Trail Parkway to Fort Worth
     Member Profile, Roger Harmon, Johnson County Judge
Web Exclusives Aim to Keep Transportation Content Fresh
Public-Private Partnership Moving Rail Improvements Forward
Refocused AirCheckTexas Remains Key to Region's Air Quality Plan
New Fact Sheets Helping Public Understand Transportation

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Web Exclusives Aim to Keep Transportation Content Fresh

The NCTCOG Transportation Department has introduced Web-only content to its annual publication, Progress North Texas 2011, in an effort to keep the conversation about transportation in the Dallas-Fort Worth area moving forward.

Read what Kent Penney, director of aviation for the city of Fort Worth has to say about how surface transportation affects airports.

Progress North Texas focuses on the challenges the region faces and how they are being confronted, using a series of performance measures and testimonials from the people who use the system every day.

Commuters who rely on passenger rail, roadways and bicycles to get to work are all featured in this year’s report.

You can help shape the conversation by answering the following question: How should the region overcome transportation challenges and ensure a system of safe, reliable, effective options for the future?

Your answers could appear in the online version.

As new information illustrating how the region is meeting its transportation challenges becomes available, it will be posted on the site.


Graphic: Progress North Texas web exclusive

Share Your Perspective: How should the region overcome transportation challenges and ensure a system of safe, reliable, effective options for the future? <Click to answer.>

Progress North Texas
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Public-Private Partnership Moving Rail Improvements Forward

One of the nation’s busiest at-grade rail intersections is about to be improved, thanks to cooperation between the public sector and businesses that use it every day to move goods throughout the US.

Tower 55  

Ray LaHood, US secretary of transportation, recently visited Fort Worth to finalize an agreement to fund improvements to Tower 55, which serves up to 100 freight and passenger trains a day. This activity causes long traffic tie-ups and safety concerns.

The federal government has committed $34 million in Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Phase II, or TIGER II, funds.

The $93.7 million project will include the following improvements:

  • Additional track north, south and through Tower 55 on BNSF and UP lines
  • Improved alignment and switches promoting faster trains
  • Signal enhancements with positive train control capabilities
  • New bridges and drainage and improvements to existing structures
  • Street and intersection improvements and grade-crossing closures
  • Improved pedestrian safety and new emergency-vehicle access to enhance service to neighborhoods

The changes are being made as part of a public-private partnership also involving Fort Worth; the Texas Department of Transportation; two railroads, Fort Worth-based BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad; and the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

In addition to the $34 million TIGER II grant, Union Pacific and BNSF Railway have committed a combined $55 million; NCTCOG has pledged $2.5 million; and TxDOT and Fort Worth will each spend $1 million toward the improvements.

Construction of the Tower 55 improvements will create approximately 900 jobs and provide greater safety with reduced delays for motorists and pedestrians at area highway-rail crossings and bridges, according to the federal government.

Fewer train delays and blocked crossings will also save 1.9 million tons in carbon emissions from those locomotives and automobiles that will be idling less. Construction is expected to begin early next year.

In addition to Tower 55, the proposed high speed rail line between the Dallas-Fort Worth area and Houston will be aided by federal funding. The project was awarded $15 million for engineering and environmental work necessary to move forward.

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Refocused AirCheckTexas Remains Key to Region's Air Quality Plan

AirCheckTexas Drive a Clean Machine continues to improve the air quality – and the lives of those who receive vouchers.

FWTAexas Legislsture reduced the program’s funding by 88 percent earlier this year as it grappled with a multibillion-dollar budget deficit. Despite the funding setback, AirCheckTexas remains an important contributor to the region’s air-quality improvement efforts. The repair of 25,000 vehicles and replacement of 25,000 more have led to the reduction of approximately 1.1 tons per day of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.

This is helping the area make strides toward compliance with federal ozone standards. Nine Dallas-Fort Worth area counties (Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall and Tarrant) are designated by the Environmental Protection Agency as nonattainment for ozone pollution.

With less funding, AirCheckTexas shifted its focus from a vehicle repair and replacement initiative to one that simply provides vouchers to fix cars and trucks. The program received its last replacement application of the year in July.

Historically, qualifying motorists with vehicles that meet the specifications have been able to apply for vouchers worth up to $3,500 toward the purchase of a more environmentally –friendly car or up to $600 toward repairs.

In fiscal year 2010, the vouchers helped motorists retire 7,159 vehicles in favor of newer, cleaner–burning cars and trucks. Emissions problems with another 2,969 were diagnosed or repaired.

Although, the focus has been on repairing as many vehicles as possible, there will likely be a brief opportunity early in 2012 for qualifying residents to apply for replacement vouchers.


Applications for repair assistance must be mailed or faxed:

AirCheckTexas Program
P.O. Box 5888
Arlington, TX 76005-5888.

Fax: 817-608-2315 or 817-695-9292.

Applicants are asked to allow 14 business days for the processing of their applications. For income guidelines and other program requirements, visit

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New Fact Sheets Helping Public Understand Transportation

Fact Sheets

Mobility 2035 Fact Sheet [PDF]
Cotton Belt iFi Fact Sheet [PDF]
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The NCTCOG Transportation Department recently published the first two in a continuing series of fact sheets intended to provide residents easily digestible information about projects and programs important to regional mobility.

The first two cover Mobility 2035, the Dallas Fort Worth area’s long-term transportation plan, and the Cotton Belt Innovative Finance Initiative (iFi).

The Regional Transportation Council in March approved the $101.1 billion Mobility 2035, which outlines transportation improvements for the next 24 years.

The Cotton Belt iFi was undertaken to identify funding to provide passenger rail service to the 62-mile Cotton Belt corridor between southwest Fort Worth and the Plano/Richardson area.

The fact sheets are both available online in PDF form. Read Moving People with Strategic Investments at, and Expanding Passenger Rail Through Innovation at

The fact sheets are intended to help the public better understand the complexities of the multimodal transportation system and what is necessary to improve mobility in the fast-growing Dallas-Fort Worth area.

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Mobility Matters is prepared in cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration. The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors who are responsible for the opinions, findings and conclusions presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration or the Texas Department of Transportation.

1/24/2018 03/17/2009 JS %Arc

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