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DART line interests Red Oak

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DIANA BUCKLEY
Ellis County Press
RED OAK - At a council meeting on Jan. 8, Mayor Todd Little announced discussions with DART about plans to extend light rail service into Ellis County.

'DART has contacted the cities down the 342 rail line to see if they are interested in doing a feasibility study,' Little said.

'Last month Waxahachie had a meeting at the old train depot.'

Little said DART officials brought a train to Waxahachie on the existing freight track, picked up passengers, and took them into downtown Dallas where a dinner was served.

According to Little, DART plans to extend its light rail service to Waco.

'You could go from Waco to downtown Dallas in 90 minutes,' Little said.

Red Oak council members approved the feasibility study, authorizing Little and City Manager Ken Pfeifer to send a letter of interest to DART. The next step will be to schedule an informational junket for city officials and other interested parties.

'DART has offered not only for the council but also for interested citizens, to hop aboard a train,' said Pfeifer. 'They will take us to Union Station, and go around to some of the other cities.'

Pfeifer was noncommittal when asked about funding for the rail line.

'When Glenn Heights voted it in, they had to dedicate half of their sales tax to do that,' said citizen Patti Hilton.

'I don't think we'd want to give that up,' said Pfeifer. 'But some cities do it with a user fee.'

Little was eloquent in his support for the rail line, giving a short history of the city and of the interurban line, which was demolished in the 1960's. 'Now we've got 5500 people, we need to look at it,' he finished. 'DART's willing to help us pay for that.'

Some felt the idea's success would depend on public support. 'Texans don't want to give up their cars,' said Vicky Harris, a resident of the newly annexed Deer Creek subdivision.

'Miss Harris, they either have to give up their cars or they're going to be in the hospital with cancer,' came Little's vehement response.

Council member Charles Daubitz remembers riding the interurban and is in favor of investigating the extension; but he maintained a realistic attitude. 'If it takes as long as their last (development), we won't live to see it,' he cautioned.

Pfeifer said his office would make a list of citizens interested in participating in the informational junket. Call 972-617-3638 to add your name to the list.

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