We’re dubbing yesterday "Transportation Day." It was: (1) the Northeast Tarrant County Transportation Summit at the Grapevine Convention Center; (2) groundbreaking for the $1.02 billion, 8.4-mile DFW Connector project; and (3) an open house to see the Connector. At the summit, Hillwood Properties's Russell Laughlin told 500 attendees that freeways are economic generators and Alliance’s success is based on transportation and jobs. Focused on the 35W- 820 interchange, Russell concedes that traditional transportation formulas don’t work any more: The way of the future is toll roads and public-private partnerships.
The DFW Connector is the largest single American Recovery and Reinvestment Act transportation contract in the nation: $250M, according to the Federal Highway Administration’s Victor Mendez. The design-build process will transform the area around 635 and state highways 114, 121, and 360, with a 2014 completion targeted. Victor announced two additional federal grants totaling $43M for the Metroplex area: $23M for a streetcar line in downtown Dallas and $20M for NTTA to complete the western section of St. Hwy 161.
DFW Airport CEO Jeff Fegan (third from the left) joined the DFW Connector groundbreaking in Grapevine. He says the project is important to the airport and its 22M annual passengers. Access to DFW also benefits commercial development around the airport (which covers more land than the island of Manhattan). DFW plans a $1.8B renovation of all existing terminals (except D, which was built in 2005) starting the week after the 2011 Super Bowl at Texas Stadium.