WITH ridership soaring, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit board approved on December 10 a financial plan to accelerate the construction of two light rail extensions. The single-track lines to Garland, Richard and Plano will be doubled from the outset and opened in phases as they are ready.

Blue line trains should reach the Northeast Highway in July 2001, LBJ Freeway in February 2002 and Garland in November 2002, a month early. Simultaneously, the Red line to Plano using a former SP right-of-way, will reach the LBJ Freeway in September 2001, Richardson in June 2002 and Plano in June 2003. It was to have reached Plano in December 2003.

DART expects the extensions to generate 8·8 million trips a year, compared with 10·2 million now using the 32 km starter line. With 34 more LRVs already ordered, the board is considering buying another 21 to bring the fleet to 95. o