DART will use money for light rail extension

Washington, DC – (May 22, 2009) Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson today announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation has released $35,990,660 in funding to Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART). The money, part of the 2009 appropriations to DART, will fund a 21-mile, two-segment extension of DART’s Green Line and the building of an operating facility for vehicle maintenance and storage.

Congresswoman Johnson also announced that Dallas Love Field Airport will receive a $4,617,853 grant from the Transportation Department. Love Field will use the money for runway rehabilitation and to replace emergency vehicles.

“I am pleased to announce today more than $40 million in transportation funding for the Metroplex,” Congresswoman Johnson said. “The improvements made to DART’s Green Line and to Love Field will benefit North Texans and the North Texas economy.”

Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation/Mayor Leppert announce Deck Park Timeline

Mayor Tom Leppert

On Thursday, Mayor Tom Leppert and Councilwoman Angela Hunt participated in a press conference with the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation. They released the timeline for construction of a deck park that will cover a portion of Woodall Rodgers Freeway and connect Downtown Dallas and the Arts District with Uptown.

The timeline released is as follows:

June 15 TXDOT will advertise project bid

July 9 Woodall Rodgers Park construction contract awarded

mid Aug. Groundbreaking by contractor

early Sept. Ceremonial groundbreaking

Fall 2011 Park Completion

2012 Completion of Amenities

Mayor Leppert made sure he acknowledged Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson for her support of the project. “She has worked quietly,” the mayor said, “but I can tell you (she) was very determined to make this happen.”

Larry Taylor – Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson’s Office

Congresswoman Johnson helped secure $16.7 million in federal transportation enhancement funds from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. Congresswoman Johnson was the only member of Congress from North Texas to vote for the stimulus package.

The 5.2 acre park will create an urban green space in downtown Dallas and include jogging trails, a dog park, playground, restaurant, performance pavillion, water sculpture and game area. The mayor and others hope the deck park will rival New York’s Bryant Park and Chicago’s Millennium Park.

Looking east over park towards Meyerson and Winspear Opera House

Dallas Museum of Art & Nasher Scupture Center with Woodall Rodgers Park

Heading west on Woodall Rodgers under the deck park

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Workshop for economic recovery opportunities for women, minorities and veterans

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson will co-host a workshop with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) on April 20, 2009. The workshop, titled “The EBJ Highway to Recovery” is designed to expand business opportunities for women and minorities.

TxDOT will provide overview of economic recovery projects and the process for bidding on them, followed by TxDOT and NTTA holding one-on-one sessions with workshop participants.

The “EBJ Highway to Recovery” workshop will follow the “Roadmap to Recovery” workshop.

Date: Monday, April 20, 2009

Time: 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Location: The Music Hall at Fair Park
909 1st Ave.
Dallas, TX 75210

To RSVP for the workshop, please register online at:

President Obama lays out plan for ailing auto industry

In a statement directed at Americans nervous about the auto industry, President Barack Obama outlined his administrations further involvement in helping the struggling auto makers.  That includes the Obama administration forcing GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner to resign.

The President said that the plans formerly submitted by GM and Chrysler are unacceptable, and he wants them to take another run at it.  In the meantime, they will have to submit to guidelines set by the federal government in order to receive additional federal funds.  Obama said GM and Chrysler will have “limited additional periods of time” to produce plans that inspire confidence from the American citizens who their are asking to give them aid.

He also called on others to make concessions, including auto workers and their unions, auto dealers, and suppliers. Though much of the news is bleak, Obama cited GM producing the 2008 North American Car of the Year (Chevy Malibu), and Chrysler for the Buick’s recognition in the area of reliability.

Obama said that the business plans submitted to the government were “not strong enough” and additional measures were necessary for them to become viable once again.  The first step to that end was his auto task force pushing Wagoner out as CEO.

The government will give GM 60 days of working capital to try to push through it’s financial situation.  He paused to emphasize the fact that the government has “no intentions in running or interest in running GM.”

Obama said the situation at Chrysler is “more challenging” and that the company may not survive without a partnership with Italian automaker FIAT.  The Obama administration is giving Chrysler 30 days to work out a deal with FIAT in order to receive up to $6 Billion in additional government aid.

After detailing the state of the trouble car companies, Obama acknowledged that bankruptcy is still an option.  He look to soften the effects of the ‘B’ word by saying that neither company would be broken up and sold off if bankruptcy codes were used.  Obama listed four steps his administration is focused on relating to the auto industry:

  1. Ensuring relief funds get to designated entities as soon as possible.
  2. Increasing credit flow
  3. Alerting consumers of tax benefits for cars purchased between Feb. 16th and year end.
  4. Pursuing a program with Congress that offers tax incentives to those purchase energy efficient cars to replace less efficient models.

Obama ended his statement by underscoring the importance of the auto industry in the United States.  He said that it wasn’t important just to the the Midwest which has been hardest hit, but all Americans.

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Dallas’ Traffic Ranking Increased Since 2007

What: The second annual INRIX National Traffic Scorecard released by INRIX, the leading provider of real-time traffic information for many popular GPS devices, auto brands and mobile phones, found Dallas to be the 4th most congested market in the country in 2008, increasing in the rankings from last year when it was ranked at #5.

The city’s Travel Time Index (TTI) dropped 2.4%, but not enough to keep it from moving up and becoming the 4th most traffic congested city in the nation. Coincidentally, Dallas also holds the 4th highest population rank in the country, which is just one of the many factors leading to its high traffic ranking.

Further analysis by INRIX showed that Northbound on the Loop 820 at HWY 26/GRAPEVINE HWY/EXIT 22 was the worst bottleneck for the city and Fridays between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. was the worst time for commuting.

The Top 10 Most Congested Cities:

  1. Los Angeles, CA
  2. New York, NY
  3. Chicago, IL
  4. Dallas, TX
  5. Washington, DC
  6. Houston, TX
  7. San Francisco, CA
  8. Boston, MA
  9. Seattle, WA
  10. Minneapolis-St.Paul, MN

Further info: Drivers can find out more information at and you can see our video at


Washington, DC – (February 20, 2009) Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson today announced that the Federal Aviation Administration has awarded the Dallas Love Field Airport a grant for $3,387,010. The money will be used to construct a taxiway and to rehabilitate runway lighting.

“Love Field is a convenient, accessible airport that has served the people of North Texas well for decades,” Congresswoman Johnson said. “This funding will enable the airport to repair and modernize its runway system, and I know it will be money well-spent.”

Dallas Love Field Airport is located in Congresswoman Johnson’s Congressional District. According to a recent report by the Texas Department of Transportation’s Aviation Division, the direct economic output attributable to the airport is estimated at more than $352.7 million.

Additionally, scheduled airlines, and to a lesser extent, general aviation aircraft, transport over 1.7 million visitors to the area each year, supporting more than 18,000 visitor-related jobs and $377.8 million in payroll. Visitor expenditures are also responsible for $659.7 million in direct economic output.

Uh oh! Arctic blast hits Dallas area once again

It seems like the bar gets lower and lower for what we consider “winter weather” here in North Texas.  Anytime the temperature gets down to 34 degrees, local T.V. crews scour the area in hopes of capturing vehicles wrecking out live on tape.

And that always launches my obligatory weather post (I feel this won’t be the last one of the season).

It also seems like we get dumber and dumber when it comes to driving on area roads.  It took my poor wife three hours to get home from work last night.  She was so shell shocked that she hopped the train this morning.

I saw schools to the north, like Anna, Melissa, Trenton and Bells -even Roxton and Chisum- opening late.  So are Bells officials worried about traffic jams and road delays?  I know it’s better safe than sorry, and since we suck so bad and driving in these conditions I guess caution is in order.

I remember when it was a half inch of ice that shut the city down, then a quarter inch.  Now freezing drizzle does the trick.
So mad props to Debbie Denmon standing on “icy” over passes in Ft. Worth.   I hope someone’s keeping the cocoa warm for you.

Senator Royce West: A Wiseman would say – INSURE!

By Texas State Senator Royce West 

As we move into the peak of the holiday season, scurrying about, in and out of malls and shopping centers, nothing would dampen your holiday spirits more than having your automobile towed. But that’s what will happen if you live in any of several Metroplex cities – including Dallas – if you don’t have automobile insurance.

Sharing comes with the season, so in the holiday spirit, my gift to you is three reasons why it makes more sense than ever to be able to prove financial responsibility upon demand if you are in an accident or pulled over by law enforcement.

Reason #1 – the game is over.  As of October 2, Texas rolled out it’s long-awaited vehicle insurance verification program. For those who only kept coverages for a few months and cancelled after annual inspection or license tag renewal, those days are over. Now, if you are stopped by the police, officers will be able instantly – by running your license or vehicle identification number (VIN) – to confirm if a valid insurance policy is in effect on your automobile.

In 2005, the Texas Legislature passed a law establishing the vehicle insurance verification program that is designed specifically to address the estimated 1in 5 drivers (about four million) who illegally operate an automobile on Texas’ roadways without the mandated liability insurance coverage.

It is a joint venture involving the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the Texas Department of Information Resources.  Texas joins about 30 other states with similar programs. Insurers will tell you that uninsured motorists drive up rates for the insured, causing nearly a billion dollars annually in uncovered damages.

Besides, it will save you money! Just think of how many more presents you can buy for the $175 – $350 you’ll have to shell out for a first time, no-insurance offense, or the $350 – $1,000 fine if you’re caught more than once.

The second reason is that those costs can run up even more. In 2003, Texas also passed into law the Driver Responsibility Program (DRP). In short, the logic is that bad drivers should help pay for the accidents that land victims in emergency rooms across the state, often without health coverage.

So in addition to the ticket, a no-insurance conviction puts drivers in the DRP where they are assessed a $250 annual surcharge for each of three years, or face license suspension for failure to pay.  

To complete this trilogy of reasons to insure, beginning Jan. 1, 2009, Dallas will join DeSoto, Irving, Red Oak, Mesquite, Garland, Grand Prairie, Plano and other Texas cities in towing the autos of drivers unable to produce proof of financial responsibility. Dallas’ current policy allows an uninsured car to be towed only if it has been involved in an accident.

Let’s see, that’s $300 for no insurance, $250 for the surcharge, $95 for the wrecker, another $40 for one day of impoundment. On average, liability coverage alone costs less than $50 a month. Think you can’t afford insurance? You really can’t afford not to. A fourth reason to insure – it’s the law!


A new report released by INRIX, the leading provider of real-time traffic information for many popular GPS devices, found Dallas to be the 5th most congested market in the country. According to the INRIX National Traffic Scorecard, traffic congestion across the U.S. increased nearly 2% in 2007 over 2006 and there appears to be no relief in sight in 2008.

They do concede that higher fuel prices and the economy are affecting the rate of growth. With many drivers paying over $4 a gallon at the pump and roads clogged with traffic congestion averaging 60 hours a week across the nation’s 100 worst bottlenecks, traffic continues to have a major impact on consumers, businesses and the American economy.

The INRIX National Traffic Scorecard is the first to measure the nation’s traffic congestion problem by going beyond the traditional limitations of road sensors and statistical sampling techniques to evaluate real-time traffic on almost every major metropolitan roadway nationwide.  The scorecard takes a micro look at traffic problems all across the country – zooming in on the total hours spent in traffic, worst day of the week for commuting and average speeds for the top 100 cities in the U.S

Further analysis by INRIX showed that Northbound on the Loop 820 at HWY 26/GRAPEVINE HWY/EXIT 22, as the worst bottleneck for the city.

The Top 10 Congested Cities:

  1. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA
  2. New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA
  3. Chicago-Naperville, IL
  4. Washington DC, Arlington, VA
  5. Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, TX
  6. San Francisco, Oakland, Freemont, CA
  7. Houston, TX
  8. Boston, Cambridge, Quincy, MA
  9. Seattle, WA
  10. Atlanta, GA

INRIX Nationwide Traffic Scorecard “Factoids”

  • Worst Traffic Day: Friday
  • Worst commute: Friday PM
  • Worst commuting hour: Friday 5-6 PM
  • Worst morning: Wed AM
  • Best week day for traffic: Monday
  • Best week day commute: Friday AM
  • Best week day hour: Friday 6-7 AM
  • Best week day afternoon: Monday PM

Further info: Drivers can access more information at

Dallas seeks help in renaming of Industrial Boulevard

Citizens can now weigh in on the new name for Industrial Blvd.  The Public Interest Survey will run until Friday May 30 at 5:00 P.M.  The renaming of Industrial Blvd. is part of the Trinity River Corridor Project as evidenced by some of names that are being considered.

Click here and you will go directly to the survey where you will have an opportunity to vote on one of the six finalists below.  In June, the Dallas City Council will make its final selection on the new name.

Cesar Chavez Blvd.
Cesar Chavez Blvd.
Eddie Bernice Johnson Pkwy.
Eddie Bernice Johnson Pkwy.
Riverfront Blvd.
Riverfront Blvd.
Trinity Lakes Blvd.
Trinity Lakes Blvd.
Trinityview Blvd.
Trinityview Blvd.
Waterfront Blvd.
Waterfront Blvd.