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Texas Tribune's New KERA-Based Reporter, Brandon Formby, Talks House Races, DART

The proposed route for DART's Cotton Belt rail line. It will connect several suburbs to DFW Airport.

DART made a big decision this week on two major transportation projects. Brandon Formby has been following that story, along with legislative races in Dallas County. The longtime Dallas Morning News reporter moved to the Texas Tribune this month. He’s working out of the KERA newsroom, as a part of the station’s partnership with the statewide online news source.

Interview Highlights: Brandon Formby…

…On the impact the presidential race is having on Dallas County House races:

“Republicans, of course, say when they go knocking on doors, the voters they’re talking to aren’t worried about the top of the ticket, they want to focus on statewide and local issues. Democrats, however, see this as their chance to flip some of the Republican districts in what’s really a Democratic county.”

…On Donald Trump’s effect on county Republicans:

“Republicans are trying to talk about it as little as possible. Dallas County Republican Chairman Phillip 

Credit The Texas Tribune
Brandon Formby spent 13 years with the Dallas Morning News before joining the Texas Tribune this month.

Huffines said he’s just strictly focused on getting Republican voters to the polls this year.”

…On DART approving expansion of two rail lines:

“You would think, on the surface, that it’s a vote that would appease everybody. It gives Dallas its downtown subway, it gives the suburbs the Cotton Belt Rail Line connecting a lot of those cities to [DFW] Airport. A lot of people in Dallas are upset. They fear the way DART is financing this big 20-year-plan is giving preference to the Cotton Belt and its jeopardizing the downtown subway. A lot of this financing hinges on DART getting $650 million from the feds for that subway line downtown. DART says they’re confident, but other people aren’t as optimistic.”

…On DART addressing bus system issues:

“They do have a plan to overhaul their bus routes and frequency over the next ten years or more and they’re going to roll that out over time. They’re still planning to do that, but they haven’t figured out a way yet to pay for doing that overhaul the way that Houston’s METRO did.”   

Brandon Formby covers urban affairs for the Texas Tribune

Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.
Rick Holter was KERA's vice president of news. He oversaw news coverage on all of KERA's platforms – radio, digital and television. Under his leadership, KERA News earned more than 200 local, regional and national awards, including the station's first two national Edward R. Murrow Awards. He and the KERA News staff were also part of NPR's Ebola-coverage team that won a George Foster Peabody Award, broadcasting's highest honor.