NCTCOG Celebrates 40 Years of Transportation Planning
May 07, 2014 01:33AM
The Trinity Railway Express, jointly owned by the Fort Worth Transportation Authority and Dallas Area Rapid Transit, debuted in 1996. It now offers commuter rail service between Fort Worth and Dallas, including the CentrePort/DFW Station.
The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) and Regional Transportation Council (RTC) year are celebrating the 40th anniversary of their designation by Governor Dolph Briscoe as the metropolitan planning organization for the Dallas-Fort Worth area in 1974.
NCTCOG is a voluntary association of local governments established in 1966 to assist in planning for common needs, cooperating for mutual benefit and coordinating for sound regional development, strengthening both the individual and collective power of local governments and helping them recognize regional opportunities, eliminate unnecessary duplication and make joint decisions.
NCTCOG serves a 16-county region of North Central Texas, which is centered on the two urban centers of Dallas and Fort Worth. Currently, NCTCOG has 240 member governments, including 16 counties, 170 cities, 24 school districts and 30 special districts.
Throughout 2014, the NCTCOG Transportation Department is marking the decades of accomplishments by focusing on how transportation planning has enhanced life in Dallas-Fort Worth.Forty years ago, many of the freeways were in place, but the transit agencies that now provide an alternative mode of transportation did not exist. Population was 2.6 million, compared to 6.7 million today. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, one of the nation’s busiest aviation facilities and a regional magnet for jobs, had just opened, and much of the population was concentrated in two counties: Dallas and Tarrant.
Since then, the population has soared, and the transportation system has matured to meet the needs of a larger, more prosperous region. Today, NCTCOG and RTC have worked side-by-side with regional, state and federal partners to guide planning and face the challenge of meeting the air quality goals. Key regional achievements over the past 40 years include:
• 1974 –NCTCOG is born and Total Transportation 1990, the first long-range transportation plan, is approved, calling for $3 billion in transportation spending through 1990. Now the budget is approaching $100 billion.
• 1978 – The RTC is formed with 21 members. Today, its membership stands at 43.
• 1983 – Dallas Area Rapid Transit and the Fort Worth Transportation Authority are formed to serve as transit agencies for the eastern and western subregions, respectively.
• 1991 – Congress passes the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), increasing responsibilities of the RTC to include programming funding for specific projects.
• 1996 – DART introduces light rail starter system and the first segment of the Trinity Railway Express commuter rail line opens in Dallas. By 2001, it connects Dallas to Fort Worth.
• 1998 – President George Bush Turnpike opens between Midway and Preston roads.
• 2001 – The Texas Legislature creates AirCheckTexas Drive a Clean Machine to assist qualifying motorists with repair and replacement of high-emitting vehicles.
• 2005 – RTC approves the Sustainable Development Funding Program to encourage public/private partnerships that enhance the capacity of the transportation system, rail access and mixed-use development and address air quality.
• 2007 – North Texas Tollway Authority makes $3.2 billion payment to the region for the right to develop and maintain State Highway 121, now Sam Rayburn Tollway.
• 2009 – Metropolitan planning area is expanded to 12 counties with the addition of Hood, Hunt and Wise.
• 2011 – Denton County Transportation Authority debuts 21-mile A-train commuter line between Denton and Carrollton.
• 2014 – NCTCOG, NTTA and the Texas Department of Transportation reach an agreement to build SH 360 extension to U.S. Highway 287. The extension, which was part of the region’s first long-range transportation plan, could open in 2018.
For more information, visit nctcog.org/trans.