Dallas contemplates reallocating funds from DART to address pension shortfalls

Dallas, Texas – In Dallas, city officials are currently discussing potential adjustments to their contributions to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) due to financial constraints. During recent city council sessions, there has been talk of reallocating 25 percent of the city’s sales tax revenue designated for DART to address shortfalls in the city’s pension fund, reports The Dallas Morning News.

Jeamy Molina, a spokesperson for DART, expressed concerns to KERA about the significant impacts such reductions would have. Molina highlighted that a decrease in funding would lead to major cutbacks in operations, maintenance, and staff, along with fewer service and construction contracts. This reduction would not only affect DART’s operations but also have a cascading effect on the local economy and harm existing business partnerships.

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DART is somewhat unique among transit organizations as it relies heavily on funding from its 13 member cities. A memo from DART CEO Nadine Lee to city leaders cautioned that a funding reduction could result in a revenue loss of $6 billion over the next two decades. The memo also noted that bus service intervals might extend to 30 minutes or more should the funding cut be implemented.

At a special meeting of the city’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, city officials evaluated DART board members Carmen Garcia and Rodney Schlosser regarding their roles and the future direction of DART in light of potential funding decreases. District 13 Council Member Gay Donnell Willis inquired whether the agency was considering expanding its membership to include new cities to help fill the financial void.

“There’s no intent to hobble DART. That’s a valuable service that’s provided to so many in our community,” Willis said. “The expectation would be an understanding of where DART is looking to the future, and maybe including other communities.”

Schlosser told Willis that DART has had discussions with other cities to expand service, but many aren’t motivated to fund the agency.

“Their inquiries to date have been for basically a contract to provide some type of bus service,” Schlosser said. “There’s been no appetite for light rail and there’s been no appetite for what I would consider to be a robust transportation solution.”

Read the full story on KERA.

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