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In preparation for the grand opening of the DART Orange Line in July, the Chamber and presenting
sponsors
DART and KSWRP welcomed business professionals and elected
officials to the Quarterly Luncheon on April 25th. The 14-mile, $1.3 billion
Orange Line is expected to generate at least $400 billion in transit-oriented
development in Irving. Guest speakers Steve Medina, Officer in Charge for the Irving
1, Irving 2, and Irving 3 projects and Gary Thomas, President/Executive
Director of Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), detailed the long and rewarding
process of bringing the Orange Line to Irving and the innumerable amount of
opportunities that are being developed everyday.

 

The luncheon highlighted Irving’s great
accessibility to the metroplex and to the world, continuing to provide new and
invaluable opportunities for alternative methods of transportation. With the completion
of the first stages of the Orange Line in July, riders will have access from
Las Colinas to downtown Dallas. By the fall of 2014, riders can expect a direct
route from downtown Dallas to Terminal A at DFW Airport, one of the few
American transit opportunities with a direct rail connection to a major
airport.

 

The company responsible for the construction
of the Orange Line is KSWRP, a join venture of
Kiewit,
Stacy and Witbeck, Reyes, and Parsons, which combines
four of the most respected firms in the design-build transit industry,
completing more than 50 transportation design-build projects in the last 10
years. Kiewit, the lead partner of the joint venture, is one of the largest
general contractors in North America and specializes in alternative project
delivery methods. Stacy and Witbeck is the largest transit contractor in the
U.S. Reyes is a certified D/MBE civil contractor and Parsons is the lead
designer for the joint venture.

 

Gary Thomas is responsible for a 13-city
transit system over a 700-square mile area with bus, light rail, commuter rail,
paratransit and high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane services. He administers the
goals and policies of the DART Board of Directors, including the largest public
transit expansion in North America. He also directs the agency’s top managers
and approximately 3,300 employees, emphasizing a strong customer focus to
ensure that transit riders and taxpayers receive the best transit service
available.

 

As our presenting speaker, Thomas put into
perspective how Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is going to help transform
neighborhoods and create new communities.

 

“To date there has been around $8 billion
dollars worth of projects built, planned or announced around DART stations,”
said Thomas. “About $4 billion of that is in Irving alone. This type of
public-private connection adds value to the destinations and will also generate
additional property and sales taxes.”

 

These projects coupled with light rail
additions throughout North Texas are all part of a massive expansion program to
double the amount of light rail service to 90 miles by 2014. DART’s
multi-billion dollar expansion is listed as one of the world’s Top 100
Infrastructure projects, and it’s creating thousands of jobs and generating
billions in economic activity to help boost the North Texas economy. In
addition, DART is expecting a roll out a series of new changes in ridership and
security.

 

“To increase the convenience of both our bus
and rail systems, and to make transfers between the two more seamless, we have
rolled out a series of consumer-friendly communication tools under the name On
the Go, In the Know
,” said Thomas.

 

Likewise, DART is stepping up security with an
increased presence on trains, a new public awareness campaign, and new tools to
contact DART police. With more than 270 police and fare enforcement on the DART
system everyday and night coupled with joint operations with many police departments,
DART is reassuring riders that riding DART is safe.

 

The Chamber would like to thank our sponsors
and attendees for their continuing support as we prepare to usher in a huge win
for Irving.

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