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Mobility Matters - Images of a freight truck traveling on a highway, downtown Fort Worth, a TRE locomotive, downtown Dallas skyline and highway traffic; Celebrating 35 Years of Regional Transportation Excellence, 1974 - 2009

Future Bright for N. Texas Aviation
Push Toward Cleaner Air Involves Everyone
      A Message from Michael Morris, Transportation Director

Cedar Hill Mayor is Optimistic About the Region
     Member Profile, Rob Franke, Mayor, City of Cedar Hill
After 40 Years, Key Road is Coming
NCTCOG Hopes to Open New Window with YouTube Channel
Streetcar on Track for Dallas Return
Art Contest Winner Crowned

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Future Bright for N. Texas Aviation

North Texas has a rich aviation heritage and an economy that continues to be shaped by the industry. But a coordinated effort to interest students in aviation is needed to keep young people who aspire to work with aircraft from going out of state for their education.

Sustaining the region’s robust aviation industry was a major thrust of the fifth annual NCTCOG Aviation Summit this winter. And many officials agreed that it starts with providing students the right tools, including the opportunity to pursue a four-year degree at home.

State Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, encouraged those in attendance to continue working together on a comprehensive aviation education system in North Texas. The region needs to work together to make this happen so it can continue to maintain its place near the top of the US aviation industry, West said.

The influence of general and commercial aviation is evident throughout not just Dallas-Fort Worth, but the state. The industry employs an estimated 771,000 people in Texas and boasts an economic output of $59 billion.

Nationwide, it is becoming more apparent that the industry needs to grow along with the demand for flying. From 1997-2007, the number of student and private pilots in the US declined by 6.2 percent. During that same period, there was a 10.1 percent decrease in the number of registered aircraft mechanics in the US. Dallas-Fort Worth area leaders hope to reverse declines like these with cooperation and coordination.

Ross Perot Jr., chairman of Hillwood, said the region’s cooperative spirit will lead it into the future, just as it helped establish Alliance Airport in Fort Worth in the 1980s and ‘90s.


Photo: Ross Perot, Jr.

"One thing we're trying to do now is make sure we have the same vision for North Texas so when we go speak to Austin, we can speak with one voice." -- Ross Perot Jr., chairman of Hillwood

Perot delivered the keynote address, acknowledging the challenges D-FW faces economically, but urging those in attendance to work together to reach their goals. The region is in much better shape than it was at the end of the last major downturn, he said.

“One thing we’re trying to do now is make sure we have the same vision for North Texas so when we go to Austin, we can speak with one voice.”

He believes with the expiring of the Wright Amendment flight restrictions at Love Field and the restructuring of American Airlines, the region’s aviation industry is on solid ground.

General aviation seems to be following an upward path, also. NCTCOG reexamined the General Aviation and Heliport System Plan over the past five years to make sure the anticipated growth in the industry could be handled. The short answer is yes.

5th Annual Aviation Summit

Aviation Summit
Aviation Planning and Education
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But more work is required as the region’s population continues to grow. If the past 25 years is indicative of what will happen by 2035, the region could be a vastly different place then. From 1985-2011, the 16-county region welcomed 3 million new residents, an 84 percent increase.

Employment grew from 2.3 million to 4.15 million, a 78 percent boost. Planners say demand forecasts for general aviation activity in the region will follow this growth pattern, with the industry expanding nearly 70 percent by 2035. The system will need improvements to sustain this demand, but if the plan is implemented as anticipated, the industry will be able to continue to thrive amid the growth. The region will need more hangars to keep up with the expected surge, but will be equipped to handle the increase in aircraft that will come with economic expansion and population growth.

If local and industry decisionmakers commit to funding improvements and system maintenance while continuing to monitor performance, as laid out in the system plan, the region could experience a tremendous economic expansion in the coming decades. And with coordination of educational resources, North Texas can provide the aviation workforce necessary to maintain its position as a leader in the aviation world well beyond 2035.

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Push Toward Cleaner Air Involves Everyone
A Message from Michael Morris, Transportation Director

As we look back at the region’s progress in 2011, it’s easy to be excited about the future of Dallas-Fort Worth. Major roadway projects throughout the region have been undertaken thanks to the innovative approaches of our public-sector partners and creative partnerships these road-building agencies have formed with private business.

Our passenger rail network also is growing into one of the nation’s most impressive systems and will soon provide direct access to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport via DART’s Orange Line. The Blue Line will extend light rail service from downtown Garland to Rowlett.

The North Central Texas Council of Governments recently determined another massive rail project – passenger rail along the 62-mile Cotton Belt corridor – is viable. A comprehensive report of potential financing mechanisms indicates $2.7 billion could be available over 40 years to help pay for it.

But as we admire the work being done to improve the reliability of the transportation system, we must remember how integral air quality is to our future mobility.

Much of North Texas is in serious nonattainment for ozone, meaning our air isn’t clean enough to comply with federal ozone standards. We have been working diligently as a region for years to improve our air so our children and grandchildren can breathe easier. Yet, we are still falling short of attainment.

Photo: Be Air Aware with Air North Texas



For years, NCTCOG has relied on programs and partnerships with the public and private sectors to help in this effort. allows commuters to log their alternatives to driving alone and find neighbors to share rides with.

The AirCheckTexas Drive a Clean Machine Program provides vouchers for qualifying motorists who need help replacing or repairing their cars. AirCheckTexas has led to the replacement of more than 25,000 cars and trucks and the repair of more than 25,000.

Air North Texas is the campaign promoting a consistent message and motivating residents to take simple steps to improve the air we breathe. We rely on Air North Texas to tie everything together.

We want to empower individuals and businesses to take ownership of our air quality and the steps necessary to correct our ozone problem.

After years of steadily getting closer to meeting attainment, we took a step back in 2011, thanks in part to the record heat we remember all too well. We are refocusing our Air North Texas campaign in an effort to meet our attainment goal soon so we can ensure the transportation progress you see every day continues.

More important than mobility is the health of the region.

Graphic: Air Quality Index

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, exposure to ground-level ozone can lead to many health issues, including breathing problems and even permanent lung damage. We need to protect North Texans of all ages from harmful pollutants.

And it starts with you.

We’re asking the public to help us by paying attention to ozone forecasts over the next several months. If an air pollution watch is expected for the next day, consider what you can do to minimize your effect on air quality. If you live close to a transit stop, think about taking the bus or train to work. If that’s not an option, maybe you can bring your lunch, eliminating a short midday lunch trip.

The region has many carpool and vanpool options through It allows residents to record how they commute to work every day and see firsthand how much money they are saving. We encourage you to take what you learned from this and apply it during potentially high-ozone days throughout ozone season.

We also need the support of the business community. If you allow your employees to work from home periodically, consider implementing the practice for air pollution watch days. Many of you have experience with this after last year’s snow and ice storms. We encourage you to take what you learned from this and apply it during ozone season.

Think beyond ozone season, which began March 1 and runs through October 31. You may decide that permanently implementing these changes makes sense for your company. Your employees may be happier, and even more productive, leading to a more successful bottom line for your business.

Are we all doing our share for clean air?

Let's make air quality a focus this season and throughout the year so we can be proud to call Dallas- Fort Worth home. After all ... air quality matters.

AirCheckTexas Drive a Clean Machine
Air North Texas
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Photo: Rob Franke, Mayor, City of Cedar Hill

Cedar Hill Mayor is Optimistic About the Region
Member Profile - Rob Franke, Mayor, City of Cedar Hill

Rob Franke has learned an important lesson in his time as chair of the Dallas Regional Mobility Coalition. Although Dallas-Fort Worth has a diverse collection of large and small cities, everyone’s challenges are similar.

Dallas’ might be on a different scale than those of Cedar Hill, the city Franke has presided over as Mayor for 14 years, but residents deal with the same issues. One of the most important is transportation. And Franke is working at multiple levels to help ensure the region’s transportation system continues to improve.

But getting to this point has not been easy. The road has been planned for more than 40 years, and many people from both Johnson and Tarrant counties deserve credit, he said.

“I guess you could call it truly a combined, team effort,” he said.

“There’s no one individual person you can single out that made this happen.”

In Cedar Hill, which has grown from 32,000 to more than 45,000 since 2000, he has seen priorities change from simply widening roads to completing projects with a more context-sensitive approach.

  Franke has represented Cedar Hill, Duncanville, DeSoto, Lancaster and Glenn Heights on the Regional Transportation Council since 2008. In those four short years, he has made his mark on transportation.

For example, when expanding Belt Line Road, which cuts east-west through the city down toward Joe Pool Lake, the typical engineering approach would have been a straight road. But people wanted a road that would preserve the natural beauty of the area and make way for bicycles and trails.

A professional engineer with a degree from Kansas State University, Franke has been involved in transportation at the city and regional levels for several years.

Duncanville’s Grady Smithey, a former member of the Regional Transportation Council, sparked his interest in transportation, encouraging him to learn about the time a project takes from concept to construction. Franke also has been motivated by how transportation boosts quality of life.

Franke has represented Cedar Hill, Duncanville, DeSoto, Lancaster and Glenn Heights on the Regional Transportation Council since 2008. In those four short years, he has made his mark on transportation.

He earned the 2011 William J. Pitstick Award, given annually by NCTCOG to a leader who exemplifies regionalism.

Dallas-Fort Worth cannot build enough roads to eliminate congestion, so it must follow a multimodal path, he said.

Passenger rail is part of that solution and brings innovation to the area, he said. Franke chairs two RTC subcommittees responsible for examining how rail can be expanded in the region. The Multimodal/Intermodal/High Speed Rail/Freight Subcommittee is developing different approaches to how the region will move people and goods by rail.

The Transportation Funding Initiative’s Legislative Fundamentals Subcommittee is working on issues related to the implementing agencies, voting geography and use of 4A and 4B tax revenue should the state grant local voters the right to impose additional transportation taxes.

The region faces many funding challenges as it seeks the money necessary to meet the transportation needs of more than 6.5 million residents. Franke has learned that while transportation planners and policymakers must think of the long-term effects of projects, the legislative process is driven by short-term priorities.

So how does one bridge that gap to bring North Texas the funding it needs?

The region should present long-term solutions that are quantifiable in the short-term and are part of a solution that can last years, he said.

People struggle with productivity during their commutes. But if they can drive just a few minutes to a rail station and board a train for the office, they can also get a head start on the day much easier than if they are behind the wheel stuck in traffic. Once residents understand how they can use their time aboard mass transit vehicles, Franke believes they will be willing to pay for more transit.

The key is demonstrating that added value to people, he said.

Franke enjoys being part of the 43-member RTC because its members genuinely want to do what’s best for the region, he said.

They advocate passionately for their positions, he said, but in the end want to find solutions that will help the entire area, not just specific cities, counties or transportation authorities.

But there is an adjustment period for new members.

“There are so many smart people in that room who know so much that it’s easy for someone to feel intimidated until they get to know people,” he said.

And it doesn’t take long to realize that the RTC is full of people who want to do the right thing to boost regionalism, he said.

"I like to see the mutual respect we have for priority projects in the region," he said.

City of Cedar Hill
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Mobility Matters is prepared in cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration. The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors who are responsible for the opinions, findings and conclusions presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration or the Texas Department of Transportation.

1/24/2018  03/17/2009 JS %Arc

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