Arlington Finally Invents a Public Transit System Voters Can't Reject: A Single Bus Route

Categories: Transportation

TrickedOutBus.jpg
Via.
Finally, Arlington officials have come up with a bus system voters can't reject.
In 2002, Arlington voters considered a proposal to establish a public transit system. The system would have been funded through a modest quarter-cent sales-tax increase that had the support of the City Council and every major business group in town but not, as the News reported at the time, the Concerned Taxpayers of Arlington.

"There is no question about the fact that there is some need out there," the group's Bruce Deramus told the News at the time. "There are disabled, infirm and poor people who really need a way to get to work, for instance. But it does not have to be on this large of a scale, and this is the message we have tried to get out over and over again."

And so, for the third time in 22 years, voters rejected plans for public transportation in Arlington, cementing the city's status as the largest city in the country without a mass transit system.

That doesn't mean the need has gone away. It just means the city has had to scale back -- way back -- its ambitions and be more creative about paying for them. In October, the city and University of Texas at Arlington unveiled preliminary plans for a bus service connecting the Trinity Railway Express' CentrePort station to the college.

Jim Parejon, the city's community development and planning director, is quick to distinguish the current proposal from the city's previous stabs at public transportation.

"Those were citywide transit networks, and we're not talking about that here," he said. "What we're talking about is a very specific connection to existing regional infrastructure."

The limited scope has the obvious benefit of limiting cost, but it also means it won't require a public referendum, which past experience has proven isn't a winning proposition in Arlington. The City Council has already allocated $350,000 for the system, right at half of its expected annual cost. The other half will come from the private sector through a public-private partnership. The bus service would be run either by a private contractor or an existing transit agency (e.g. DART or The T in Fort Worth).

Parejon expects more specifics to be presented to the council in January or February, plenty of time to get the system up and running by the August 2013 target. Parejon said city officials are "very optimistic."


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12 comments
ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

This is a good step in the right direction but will there be a mass parking lot at UTA for bus riders who may want to bus to CenterPort for a TRE train to AAC for a night out, or for daily work?  The way it is now, and why I dont take the train to work, is I would have to drive 15 minutes from my house to CenterPort to catch the train when it only takes an additional 10 minutes to get to downtown if I just drive from home.  

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

Translation: Jerry is going to fight any public transportation, pay whomever he needs to, to make sure he collects his outrageous $50+ parking fees at the Deathstar.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@big_oj it will NEVER happen, Jerry wants to make sure he gets his $$$$... 12k parking spots at a minimum of $50 is $600k A GAME, plus the other 12k spots at the ballpark they use during cowboys games

Daniel
Daniel

@ScottsMerkin Yeah, and while they're at it, why don't they have a shuttle from UTA directly to Parkland, so their citizens can further benefit from the public investment of neighboring cities and counties? They're John Galts all, just try tellin'em they can't! Don't tread on them! They're taxed enough already!

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@SuperfuzzBigmuff well this time around it would be even harder for Arlington to pass because of Jerry.  What was the excuse the other times?  

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Daniel The shit aint free so I really dont care if Arlington invest in their own infrastructure or not.  I pay to ride the trains that take me where i want, and by your logic anyone not from arlington shouldnt be allowed to go to the Ballpark or Jerry world bc arlington invested in it and its surrounding cities didnt.

Daniel
Daniel

@ScottsMerkin @Daniel Fair enough. It just amuses me when conservative suburbs try to latch onto public amenities without ponying up their fair share. (This seems to be their special talent.) Like no one's gonna notice. These facilities are intended for the general public, though -- point taken. 

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