Three Southern Dallas Projects Awarded $21M in Federal RAISE Grants

$12 million will go toward building The Loop's Trinity Forest Spine Trail South Phase; $8.218 million will enhance mobility within the Southern Dallas County Inland Port, including the purchase of eight on-demand electric shuttles; and $900,000 will help connect communities across the Southern Gateway, from Oak Cliff to the forthcoming I-35 deck park to the Dallas Zoo and the Tenth Street Historic District.

Three projects in Southern Dallas have been awarded a total of $21 million in federal grants through the the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grants program.

Last Friday, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced that the Biden Administration will invest nearly $1 billion in American infrastructure through the RAISE grants, with funding awarded to 90 projects in 47 states, Washington, D.C., and Guam.

The RAISE grants coming to Southern Dallas include:

$8.218 million for Enhancing Mobility within the Southern Dallas Inland Port

Union Pacific intermodal terminal in Wilmer [Photo: Michael Samples]

The Southern Dallas County Inland Port stretches across 7,500 acres within five municipalities, including Dallas, Lancaster, Ferris, Wilmer, and Hutchins. From here, big companies have access to seagoing ports in Houston, Los Angeles, and Long Beach, California via I-45 and I-20—as well as to rail lines that can carry freight to points across the U.S.

You can see our story about the Inland Port’s executive director here and more about the port itself here.

Map of the Southern Dallas County Inland Port [Image:]

The Inland Port grant will be used by the North Central Texas Council of Governments to implement new transit service, improve pedestrian infrastructure, and update traffic signals across the area. 

Currently, the Inland Port area is great for moving freight in all directions—including from two new high-tech Walmart fulfillment and distribution centers planned to open in 2023 and 2024 in Lancaster.

But the Inland Port is not so good for people and private vehicles to walk or drive around. 

The awarded project includes the purchase of eight electric shuttles for on-demand transit; new sidewalks and crosswalks near the VA Medical Center and light-rail station; and around 41 new traffic signals to optimize transit, pedestrian, and vehicular movements. 

The electric shuttles will connect people who don’t own cars to a thriving, growing job center, increasing the quality of life for the area, according to the Department of Transportation.

$12 million for The LOOP: Uniting Neighborhoods with Urban Trails

When completed, The Loop will circle around central Dallas, connecting Southern Dallas with many attractions including Uptown, Deep Ellum, and White Rock Lake. [Image: The Loop]

To compete the third and final segment of Dallas’ 50-mile urban trail, the project will add around 11 miles of trail focused on the Trinity Forest Spine Trail South Phase. The new Southern Dallas trail “close the Loop” by connecting the Santa Fe Trail in East Dallas to southern areas of the city.

Funds from the RAISE Grant will be used to construct the South Phase of the Trinity Forest Spine Trail, a four-mile, shared-use path that will connect the Lawnview DART Station to the Lake June DART Station and Pemberton Hill Road.

One key obstacle to overcome is crossing U.S. 175, which cuts a swath through Southern Dallas, separating residents from rail stations and planned trail infrastructure across the highway. The RAISE funds will help replace a two-lane, low-clearance bridge on Lake June Road with a new, four-lane “complete street” bridge that includes bike lanes and pedestrian walkways.

“As we look forward to our city’s future, what is clear is that trails are vital to the people of Dallas,” Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said in a statement. “The LOOP isn’t some vanity project, or just an economic development play, or just a feel-good amenity for our neighborhoods. Trails are more to us than a nice-to-have perk. A strong and viable trail system must be considered critical infrastructure for a 21st century city. This grant is reflective of that fact, and we’re thrilled to have federal support as we continue building a more vibrant Dallas.”


$900,000 for Connecting Communities in the Southern Gateway

Southern Gateway Park’s Phase One (right side above, including the hilltop-covered restaurant/retail complex at center) and Phase Two (upper left above). [Image: HKS]

As we wrote yesterday in our story about the Southern Gateway deck park over I-35, this project will create a master plan for efforts to connect the deck park and Dallas Zoo to Dallas’ Oak Cliff neighborhood. 

The Connecting Communities project will also conduct design and engineering for intersection improvements connecting the deck park to the Bishop Arts and Jefferson commercial areas; a pedestrian bridge connecting the commuter rail line to the Dallas Zoo; and a pedestrian bridge over I-35 connecting to 12 acres of newly created public-use green space.

“We’re proud to support these great projects that will improve infrastructure, strengthen supply chains, make us safer, advance equity, and combat climate change,” Buttigieg said in a statement. “As in past years, we received far more applications than we could fund: this cycle saw about a ten-to-one ratio of requests to available dollars. But going forward, with the passage of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we will be able to support far more infrastructure projects to support jobs and everyday life in communities across the country.”

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