In case you have not been following it, DART revealed a few weeks ago that it would be a billion dollars short in it’s earlier estmate to build the new suburban rail line that goes up through Irving and surrounding area.  Their original estimate was for one billion and now it’s two billion.  Jim Shutze, at The Observer, has been all over it, because it turns out that DART President Gary Thomas knew about this for 8 months before he revealed it to DART’s board. 

Needless to say, Irving is in a huge uproar, and petitions are underway, because they have been paying into DART for years with the promise of this line.  So, DART’s Gary Thomas has now said he can find that extra billion elsewhere  — from our planned Dallas projects, no less. As Schutze put it: "His big idea for making up the moolah is to use money that has been set aside for two crucial Dallas projects, a second downtown alignment and for the South Oak Cliff line, and then get that money back somewhere, somehow in time to do those projects."  Then, he can "back-fill" that money that is no longer in the Dallas pot from somewhere else, in time for the Dallas projects.  Where, when, he does not say.

Dallas City Council gave him a huge grilling yesterday and all council members were really upset.  All except Lake Highlands council member Jerry Allen, according to Schutze: "Jerry Allen, however, was all sweetness and flattery for DART. Could it have anything to do with the fact that he was vice-chair of DART’s budget and finance committee when DART created the plan that is now so upside-down?"

By removing DART money from Dallas, the future downtown and south Dallas DART transportation infrastructure could be compromised for years.  By not building out Irving, the suburbs will be in an uproar. This whole mess is going to be something to watch.  And, somehow I think our pockets are going to be picked again.