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Last year Frisco ended its sole bus route.
CCART is not a government agency, it's run by a charity, the Collin County Committee on Aging (CCCOA). Most of the funding for CCART comes from federal, state and local governments, but it does not have access to its own tax revenue source. The CCCOA also runs the Collin County Meals on Wheels and other programs for senior citizens and their caregivers.
KTEN, Channel 10 in Denison reports that last week the Texoma Area Public Transportation Service (TAPS) received a $1 million dollar grant from TxDOT in the form of 9 used buses. Where did the buses come from? CCART.
The nine buses were surplus vehicles donated by TxDOT because they've sat unused by CCART for several months.
TAPS director Gary Underwood is quoted as saying, "[TxDOT] got together and knew we needed the vehicles and they knew we were expanding so rapidly and so quickly, there's such a demand in the Grayson County area for service so we went and got the vehicles and are putting them to good use".
TAPS hired more than 30 new employees last month and is still looking to add more.
Meanwhile Collin County, which appears to have no need for public transportation, is watching its ability to provide mass transit sink.
What's the difference in the will of the elected leaders of these three counties to provide a network of public transit? Huge.
Except for in Plano, which is a long time member of DART, Collin County's political and business leaders don't seem to have the political will nor the vision to provide their citizens with a mass transit solution.
Our short sightedness will, not may, but will impact the future growth prospects, the air, and the quality of life in our county.
As Pogo was fond of saying, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."
And those are the political leaders getting elected by the citizens - Democracy in action.
A big reason Plano is going to have a $26 million dollar deficit next year and Frisco, Allen, McKinney, Fairview will not is because Plano gives ~$59 million to DART every year and those other cities use that money for recreation and parks and libraries and economic incentive.
The reason why DART cut back bus service in Plano is because of little demand, according to DART.
"What's the difference in the transit needs of Collin, Grayson, and Denton Counties? Very little."
Except for the 36,000 students who go to University of North Texas.
There are approximately 800 parking spaces at the Parker Road Station in Plano. Estimates are that about half of them are from outside of Plano, so around 400 cars, which is a tiny, tiny drop in the bucket.
That's the whole problem with DART in Plano - few people actually use the thing, certainly not enough to justify the ~$59 million cost.
But the people in those 400 cars might be shopping in Plano, so they might be paying sales tax that goes to DART.
The suburbs are subsidizing Dallas' public transportation. Plano isn't getting anywhere near ~$59 million worth of service from DART. Consider that Denton County spends $8.6 million to cover over 660,000 people with bus service that is a lot more extensive than what Plano is getting for ~$59 million from DART.
We can not wait for Dart to serve McKinney. We must do as Denton has done but go one step further and join Grayson County to plan and start implementing a program for both counties. Then we need to join Denton to establish a line to DFW through Denton or tail off their line to Carrollton. We can do this and it has to start now.
Plano voted twice to stay in DART and are very pleased with the results.
Rail is the future of transportation in the future. Just go to Europe and find out how good it can be.
In fifty years, rail will link Texas from East to West and North to South.
Plano is investing in its future and is smart to do so. Cudos to former mayor Pat Evans and those who preceded her for their support of DART and the future.
By the way, if you think DART is not used, try riding it any day or evening until about 10PM.
What happened at the Fair on TU-OK weekend was to be expected. All of those 40,000 who tried to ride it believed in it. Just shows how people do want it.
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