Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) has received a loan of $120m from the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) to start construction on the third phase of the light rail Orange Line extension project.
The Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan will be used to fund the construction of an 8.3km segment of DART’s 23.3km light rail Orange Line.
The $397m Orange Line phase III extension, which will connect Irving, Texas with Dallas Fort Worth Airport (DFW), is part of the city’s plan to create a 90-mile light rail network by 2014.
USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood said: "This investment will continue expanding Dallas’ Orange Line, creating jobs and delivering a major transportation project that will help the regional economy continue to grow and prosper."
Following completion, the line will improve east-west connections between DFW and the DART system by linking to the Green Line that runs through downtown Dallas, as well as to other transit services, including commuter rail.
US Federal Transit Administration (FTA) administrator Peter Rogoff said that the TIFIA programme was key in helping Dallas achieve its aim of completing one of the largest light rail systems in the country.
"Bringing the Orange Line to DFW will connect millions of residents and visitors with the heart of downtown Irving and Dallas, while reducing congestion and improving air quality," Rogoff said.
In December 2012, DART opened two new light rail extensions, taking the total length of the city’s light rail system from 123.9km to 137km.
The two new rail segments included a 7.2km extension of the Blue Line to Downtown Rowlett Station and 6.4km extension of the Orange Line into Irving and closer to Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport.
The new extension of the Orange Line adds stations at North Lake College and Belt Line Road.