Dallas City Council Reappoints 2 DART Board Members

DART Streetcar | Image by Dallas Area Rapid Transit (Official DART page)/Facebook
DART Streetcar | Image by Dallas Area Rapid Transit (Official DART page)/Facebook

A pair of Dallas Area Rapid Transit board members were unanimously reappointed by the Dallas City Council on Wednesday, but three officials urged those representatives to remember who they serve.

“I just want to say, for the record, that it’s good that we’re getting leadership roles in Dallas on this regional entity of a board,” Council Member Adam Bazaldua (District 7) said. “We’ve got some really tough conversations, I think, ahead of us. And I’m hopeful that both Rodney [Schlosser] and Carmen [Garcia] wait out a balancing act that is going to be somewhat tough.”

Schlosser and Garcia were appointed by the City to represent Dallas, as were Michelle Wong Krause, Flora Hernandez, Patrick Kennedy, Randall Bryant, and D’Andrala Alexander. Enrique MacGregor represents both Dallas and Cockrell Hill.

“There’s going to be a fiduciary responsibility that they’re going to have for the board that we’re appointing them on, but there’s definitely a responsibility that they have to the City of Dallas,” Bazaldua said, repeating a sentiment Council Member Cara Mendelsohn (District 12) expressed during a Transportation & Infrastructure Committee meeting in April.

“You know, Rodney, we have talked about the governance structure and the appointees for Dallas and how, because Dallas is not growing — contrary to a narrative that people like to say how fast Dallas is growing — it’s not, and it hasn’t been for quite some time,” Mendelsohn said last month. “The question is, so you have eight seats today, but are you able to work together to support Dallas coming together as a majority? Because I question that.”

The reappointments come at a tense time for Dallas officials, who are both scrambling to reconcile the City’s police and fire pension fund and facing a $38 million budget shortfall for fiscal year 2025, as previously The Dallas Express reported.

“And with our hard conversations coming forward with shortfalls and potential plans to get our police and fire pension under control, we’re going to need our Dallas board members to be Team Dallas more than we’ve ever had before with the DART entity,” Bazaldua said.

Neither Garcia nor Schlosser immediately responded to requests seeking comment.

As DART member cities, Dallas, Irving, Plano, Carrollton, Addison, Cockrell Hill, Garland, Farmers Branch, Richardson, Rowlett, Glenn Heights, University Park, and Highland Park direct a 1-cent sales-tax contribution to DART that accounts for roughly 75% of the entity’s $1.8 billion budget. DART CEO Nadine Lee has warned that losing a quarter of the sales-tax funding it receives from Dallas would ruin the agency’s operations.

“First of all, every dollar that we collect right now is accounted for in our budget and our financial plan,” Lee told the committee on April 15. “So, any change to the amount of money that we collect would have a devastating effect on what we produce today. And the way I explain this to people is that if you were to ride our system today and have a look around, that is what you’re paying for today.”

In a May 6 memo, Lee told Dallas City Council members on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee that a 25% reduction in sales-tax funding would result in $6 billion less revenue over 20 years.

“We anticipate DART would also have to substantially curtail demand response services that overlap fixed-route service, impacting large parts of the South Dallas, West Dallas, Inland Port, and Legacy West (Plano) zones, as well as portions of many others,” Lee wrote.

“We assume a net reduction in GoLink coverage of about 30 percent. We would also evaluate scaling back the ADA zone for paratransit service to the minimum federally mandated requirements, i.e., an area within ¾-mile of fixed-route service and running only during the hours that fixed-route service is available.”

City officials are trying to resolve a substantial deficit in the police and fire pension, reported by The Dallas Morning News to be $1 billion. Under a state law approved in 2015 and amended in 2021, that process must include a Funding Soundness Restoration Plan submitted to the Texas Pension Review Board.

“Right now, we are in a crisis situation, and … we want to know that DART has been a great steward of our money [for] our taxpayers,” Council Member Tennell Atkins (District 8) told Lee on April 15. “So, I’m just trying to make sure that you understand, from my position as a chairman of the pension fund, that I’m looking at everything and looking at revenue. And it’d be a shame if I did not ask you that hard question.”

Dallas has a fall deadline to submit its funding plan to the Texas Pension Review Board.

“I do want to make sure that it is clear that there is serious concern about the impact of the footprint that DART representatives from Dallas are making or not making,” Council Member Carolyn King Arnold (District 4) said on Wednesday. “And, particularly, I have to emphasize the importance that we have individuals on that board that are not afraid to speak up because we actually appoint them, but we end up succumbing to their lack of efficacy.”

Created by voters in 1983, DART is governed by Chapter 452 of the Texas Transportation Code.

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article