RTC Approves $36.74M for Key Bike-Pedestrian Connections


Fort Worth-to-Dallas, Cotton Belt trails have been in regional plan since 1996


Contact: Brian Wilson
Kevin Kokes

Arlington, Texas – The Regional Transportation Council on Thursday approved $36.74 million toward significant expansions to the growing network of bicycle-pedestrian trails in Dallas-Fort Worth to improve access to transit, jobs, school, and other major destinations. This federal funding will pay for expansion of the Fort Worth-to-Dallas Regional Veloweb Trail and for crucial parts of the Cotton Belt Regional Trail. With the addition of local matching funds, this recent investment in the trails will top $40 million. Both trail projects have been in the region’s Metropolitan Transportation Plan since 1996.

Fort Worth-to-Dallas Regional Trail

There will be $9.08 million in federal funding for construction of 3.1 miles of the Fort Worth-to-Dallas Regional Veloweb Trail that will complete a continuous 53-mile trail southern alignment connecting Fort Worth, Arlington, Grand Prairie, Irving and Dallas.

The approved section of the Fort Worth-to-Dallas trail will connect the existing Mike Lewis Trail in Grand Prairie to the Trinity Railway Express Centreport/DFW Airport Station in Fort Worth and the River Legacy Trail in Arlington near State Highway 360. This will make it easier for area cyclists and employees to access the rail station. For example, employees at the new American Airlines headquarters will be able to access to the rail station by using the new trail.  

The cities of Fort Worth and Grand Prairie will manage the design and construction of the 3.1-mile trail section. All sections of the regional trail southern alignment are anticipated to be complete by 2023, resulting in a continuous trail alignment stretching from downtown Fort Worth to downtown Dallas. In addition to connecting with several rail stations, trail users will be able to access several hundred miles of connecting trails in the five cities.  A map and more information about the Fort Worth-to-Dallas Regional Veloweb Trail are provided at www.nctcog.org/FWtoDALTrail.

The Fort Worth-to-Dallas Regional Veloweb Trail was given a significant boost in 2013, when the mayors of the five cities met to commit to find funding to complete a continuous trail alignment that would provide easier access to rail stations, jobs, schools, neighborhoods and parks in their cities. Five years later, funding commitments are in place.

Cotton Belt Regional Trail

Additionally, the RTC committed $8.20 million toward the engineering design of a 26-mile Cotton Belt Trail and $19.46 million toward the construction of 8.5 miles of the trail, including trail bridges over major roadways, as part of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Cotton Belt commuter rail line project. 

The Cotton Belt commuter rail and the parallel regional trail project will extend through seven cities (Grapevine, Coppell, Carrollton, Addison, Dallas, Richardson and Plano) within three counties (Tarrant, Dallas, and Collin counties), from the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport to Plano. This regional trail will ultimately connect with the existing Cotton Belt Trail in Grapevine that currently extends westward through several cities in Tarrant County. In addition to the funding approved by the RTC, the Dallas County Commissioners Court took action September 4, to approve $4.94 million toward construction of an additional 3.3 miles of the Cotton Belt regional trail.   

DART will complete the trail’s engineering design and construct the funded portions of the trail concurrently with the Cotton Belt commuter rail project, which is anticipated to be complete and open in late 2022. Once completed the regional trail will better enable residents to walk or ride their bikes to transit stations along the commuter rail line.  A map and more information about the Cotton Belt Trail is provided at www.nctcog.org/CottonBeltTrail

About the North Central Texas Council of Governments:

NCTCOG is a voluntary association of local governments established in 1966 to assist local governments in planning for common needs, cooperating for mutual benefit and coordinating for sound regional development. NCTCOG's purpose is to strengthen both the individual and collective power of local governments and to help them recognize regional opportunities, eliminate unnecessary duplication, and make joint decisions. NCTCOG serves a 16-county region of North Central Texas, which is centered on the two urban centers of Dallas and Fort Worth. Currently, NCTCOG has 240 member governments including 16 counties, 170 cities, 24 school districts and 30 special districts. For more information on the Transportation Department, visit www.nctcog.org/trans.

About the Regional Transportation Council:
The Regional Transportation Council (RTC) of the North Central Texas Council of Governments has served as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for regional transportation planning in the Dallas-Fort Worth area since 1974. The MPO works in cooperation with the region’s transportation providers to address the complex transportation needs of the rapidly growing metropolitan area. The Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area includes Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Hood, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant and Wise counties. The RTC’s 44 members include local elected or appointed officials from the metropolitan area and representatives from each of the area’s transportation providers. More information can be found at www.nctcog.org.

What Mayors are Saying about Fort Worth-to-Dallas Regional Trail
“I would like to thank the RTC for approving this important bicycle-pedestrian trail segment. The regional trail provides connections to numerous major destinations and employment centers in Fort Worth, including downtown, Panther Island, the emerging Trinity Lakes mixed-use development and more. As an avid cyclist, I also understand the health benefits associated with being active. I appreciate the RTC for providing residents across the region improved access to trails and for recognizing bicycling and walking’s value as a way to connect to jobs, education, transit, mobility and other amenities that make our region great.”
—Mayor Betsy Price, Fort Worth

“In the City of Arlington, one of our truly remarkable assets is River Legacy Park, a 1,300-acre urban oasis with bike trails that are part of this exciting network linking Fort Worth to Dallas. Trail users in River Legacy can view the ecological diversity of North Texas, with access from many nearby rapidly growing residential areas such as Viridian. I was honored, as a member of the RTC, to play a part in the decision to complete the continuous trail connection that will lead to more people across the region having access to our beautiful park and all it offers.”
 —Mayor Jeff Williams, Arlington

"This funding decision is a significant milestone for the residents and employers of northern Grand Prairie, who will have direct access to the Trinity Railway Express CentrePort/DFW Station by way of the Mike Lewis and Lone Star trails. This $9 million decision paves the way for the completion of a bike trail that connects Dallas to Fort Worth. I think “connections” is a key word here. But without the cooperation of the RTC, this would not have happened.” 
— Mayor Ron Jensen, Grand Prairie

“Today is about cooperation and the willingness to look beyond the borders of a City for the benefit of the region. The regional trail includes a portion of the Campion Trail, a master-planned 22-mile greenbelt along both the West Fork and Elm Fork of the Trinity River. A connecting trail in Irving along Delaware Creek, once completed, will provide access through many neighborhoods in Irving, connecting numerous schools, community centers and parks. I am grateful to the RTC for recognizing the importance of providing active transportation connections to these and other great assets in Irving and throughout the region.”
—Mayor Rick Stopfer, Irving

“Five years ago, I was joined by the mayors of Fort Worth, Arlington, Grand Prairie and Irving to commit to funding and building a continuous bike trail from Dallas to Fort Worth. Thanks to the hard work of my colleagues and the diligence of the RTC, we’ve identified the money needed to complete the network. Today’s action by the RTC is historic because there is more than a recreational element to a continuous trail through the core of the region. The regional trail will provide a true transportation link to Dallas and surrounding communities.”
—Mayor Mike Rawlings, Dallas

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