Good Public Transit

Dallas City Council Shakes Up DART Board

The council tosses out three DART board members, nominates new reps primed to push to fix broken regional transit system.

Moments ago, the Dallas City Council approved a new slate of representatives for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit board. They include the four nominated by the transportation committee a few weeks ago, Patrick Kennedy, Jon-Bertrell Killen, Amanda Moreno Lake, and Catherine Cuellar, as well as Dominique Torres, Michelle Krause, and Ray Jackson.

A few quick notes of interest:

  • All five Dallas board members who voted against the unanimous city council resolution to prioritize the D2 downtown subway project over the Cotton Belt line have now been replaced. Richard Carrizales was ousted last month.
  • The two Dallas board members (Lake and Krause) who voted against the DART Financial Plan (the financial one that backed pursuing D2 and the Cotton Belt concurrently by borrowing $1 billion) will return to the board.
  • Most of the new board members spoke in their interviews before the transportation committee about focusing on core ridership, improving the bus system, and prioritizing a reliable transit system over continued rail expansion.
  • Bill Velasco, Jerry Christian, and Pamela Dunlop Gates will not be returning to the DART board. Each had served since 2001, 2007, and 2006, respectively.
  • Dominique Torres ran against Council Member Ricky Callahan in the recent election, but lost by 181 votes.

As I wrote yesterday, the opportunity this new leadership represents for Dallas and the Dallas-Fort Worth region cannot be underestimated. For the first time in decades, there is a solid block of DART board members who would like to see the transit agency focus on ridership and mobility, not building an endlessly sprawling commuter rail system.