Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Projected TEX Rail ridership higher in annual update to FTA

New projections show that in Texas, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority's TEX Rail will reach an average daily ridership of 18,100 by 2035, up 1,500 since the T's commuter rail project was approved to enter preliminary engineering by the Federal Transit Administration in March, 2012.

TEX Rail's 2016 opening year average daily ridership jumped to 9,890, more than 1,000 above the Trinity Railway Express average daily ridership.

The ridership increase is among other metrics reported by the T in its annual project update submittal to the Federal Transit Administration.

"FTA specifies a timeline for requirements the agency must complete, a to-do list, of sorts, and requires an annual update to validate the agency has accomplished them," said Dick Ruddell, president of the T.

"I am pleased to report that The T's annual TEX Rail submittal to FTA shows TEX Rail is still scheduled to open in 2016 with no delays from last year's schedule," said Ruddell.

The T received a project score of medium-high as part of its FTA approval this spring to enter preliminary engineering. With this year's update, the T fully expects to maintain the medium-high rating it received in the spring.

The T also submitted to the FTA an update of its 2035 financial plan that includes a new cost estimate. Based on current status of the corridor access agreements, project scope definition and project risks, such as Positive Train Control, the T has increased its projected capital cost expenditures. With FTA applied contingency, escalation and finance charges, these result in a total projected project cost of $960 million, in the year of expenditure dollars, up from $758 million.

In addition to the T's own rail reserves, it has commitments from funding partners throughout the region including the city of Fort Worth, the city of Grapevine, Tarrant County, the state of Texas and the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

To reduce project costs, the T is currently working with its regional partners including, the city of Fort Worth, DART, BNSF, Union Pacific, Tarrant County and DFW Airport on several value engineering concepts.

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