By Brian New

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ADDISON (CBS11) – DART is looking to fast-track the nearly billion-dollar Cotton Belt Line rail project more than ten years from its previous projection date.

A year ago, DART officials said the Plano to DFW Airport train line would have to wait until 2035.

DART now wants to push the project up and have the east-west line operational by 2022.

DART has already secured the funding for half of the project and plans to apply for federal funds to pay for the other half.

“I would use it to get to DFW Airport for sure,” said Addison resident Tim Widdmeyer. “It beats driving and having to deal with long-term parking.”

While suburban cities like Addison and Plano support the Cotton Belt Line, not everyone in Dallas is on board.

Some business and city leaders are concerned the Cotton Belt Line will impact the plans for a second downtown Dallas trail line. Many now want the second downtown line to be a subway line.

“We don’t believe it needs to be an either/or,” said DART spokesperson Morgan Lyons. “They are totally separate projects. We believe we can actually do two separate projects at one time.”

Along with concerns about the effects on the downtown second line, some homeowners are concerned about having a DART train running just feet from their home.

When Don Brooks built his home off Hillcrest Rd. in North Dallas five years ago, he said he wasn’t worried about the tracks behind his house.

“I was told this was all going to be removed and this was going to be a common-area,” he said.

Brooks now knows that was never the plan.

Decades ago, DART bought the Cotton Belt corridor train tracks. A few years ago, freight trains stopped using the tracks. All along DART officials say they had planned someday to turn the corridor into a passenger line.

That someday is now quickly approaching.

“That’s very frustrating,” said Brooks. “That’s going to ruin my property value.”

DART is holding a series of public meetings about the Cotton Belt project, including Thursday August 25 at the Addison Conference Centre and Monday, August 29th at Parkhill Junior High School in Dallas.

For more information about the public meetings, click here.

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