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Super Bowl XLV

ARLINGTON - With this year's Super Bowl in the history books, the clock is ticking to North Texas' day in the spotlight. The Cowboys' new stadium in Arlington will host the NFL championship game in two years.

A contingent led by former Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach is in Tampa to see how planning a Super Bowl translates into reality . They hope to host an Arlington Super Bowl that will keep the game coming back to North Texas.

The group includes the mayors of Dallas, Arlington and Fort Worth, and they've been getting a taste of how overwhelming an event like this can be.

Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck told The Dallas Morning News that a 30-minute drive in Tampa took two-and-a-half hours - and that was on Thursday night.

So the North Texas host committee will really be focusing on their transportation plan when they return.

The first issue is getting fans and VIPs to D-FW from around the country. The North Central Texas Council of Governments is coordinating with 17 municipal airports and two public heliports to make it happen.

Then there's the issue of ground transportation for all the events.

The Texas Department of Transportation is already upgrading the Interstate 30 corridor in Arlington with expanded lanes and frontage roads, and making improvements to State Highway 360 and Division Street. That should help the flow of traffic to the new stadium.

The unpredictable North Texas winter weather is an X-factor for the transportation plan. When the mayors return from Tampa, they'll have a renewed focus on coming up with a Plan B in case of an ice storm like the one we had last week.

Game day parking is a third big challenge. According to the Dallas Cowboys stadium Web site, there are 30,000 spaces available on game day.

But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says he wants to make Super Bowl XLV the biggest ever, bringing more than 100,000 fans.

There are tentative plans to run shuttle buses from Lone Star Park, Forum 303 and rail stations.

Perhaps the biggest issue is planning for emergency services - ambulances, fire and police. How will traffic and call volume affect response times? How much security is needed for the big game?

And for local residents who aren't going to the game, how many officers will be available respond to calls in other parts of the city?

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