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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The dream of a rail line running through Tarrant County to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is becoming reality. Today groundbreaking events will be held for the new TEX Rail line.

The 27-mile Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T) commuter rail project will initially run through several Tarrant County cities, but once complete will be able to connect with other lines — including the Trinity Railway (TRE), AMTRAK, and The T’s downtown bus transfer center.

Today TEX Rail groundbreaking ceremonies will be held in Fort Worth, Grapevine and North Richland Hills.

Voters in Grapevine voters approved a half-cent sales tax increase back in 2006 to help with the project. Seventy-five percent of the money goes to the TEX Rail line and the rest to economic development.

Grapevine Mayor William D. Tate explained that the new line has benefits that people driving can’t take advantage of – like WiFi computer access.

While Grapevine is a stop on the line, Mayor Tate said those riding the new TEX Rail will can keep more money in their pockets. “It’s a big deal, not only for the people of the metroplex but the people that will come here because you can ride on The T and on DART with the same ticket, all day long at the same price.”

More than 8,000 people, at nine stations, are expected to ride the line when initial service extends from downtown Fort Worth all the way to the north end of DFW Airport.

City of Grapevine spokeswoman Mona Burk said, “Commuter, train and rail service is very prominent in a lot of American cities, large American cities, and it is highly used. It reduces a lot of traffic. It eases up the freeways and it really lends itself to a very comfortable commute.”

The new TEX Rail service will run along existing freight tracks and from end-to-end will be about a 55 minute ride, at speeds up to 59 miles per hour.

By the year 2035 ridership is expected to have expanded to nearly 14,000 daily riders on trains that run about every hour during slower commute times and every 30 minutes during morning and evening rush hours.

Regular service on the TEX Rail line is scheduled to begin in late 2018.

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