Brandon Formby | Dallas News

M-Line trolley motorman Leo Tresp switched the end of the cable on the "Green Dragon" streetcar at the route's southern terminus downtown last month. A streetcar link between the Uptown trolley service and the Bishop Arts District is part of DART's expansion plan.
M-Line trolley motorman Leo Tresp switched the end of the cable on the “Green Dragon” streetcar at the route’s southern terminus downtown last month. A streetcar link between the Uptown trolley service and the Bishop Arts District is part of DART’s expansion plan.

Members of the Dallas City Council’s transportation committee Monday signaled strong support for a three-pronged $983.4 million expansion of downtown transit.

Meanwhile, the private developer of a high-speed rail line from Dallas to Houston said it’s now focusing on five potential stations, all of which are in the city’s central business district.

Texas Central Railway, the city and Dallas Area Rapid Transit hope to tie together several transit modes. DART sees this as a chance to dramatically reshape the southwest corner of downtown by 2021, when the first bullet trains could connect the state’s two largest metropolitan areas.

DART’s expansion plan includes the first phase of a second downtown light-rail line and a streetcar connection from Oak Cliff’s Bishop Arts District to Uptown’s M-Line trolley. And while that second downtown rail has long been on Dallas and DART’s wish list, officials now believe there’s a good shot at securing what’s long blocked construction: funding.

DART officials have pieced together a list of several funding sources to finance their expansion plans. A key component of the light-rail addition and streetcar extension is $400 million in federal funds earmarked for “core capacity” projects.

Federal authorities urged the agency to apply for the funds after hearing details about its expansion plan, DART president and executive director Gary Thomas told Dallas city leaders. Read more