Sunday, November 04, 2007

"It's dumb to put up a $1.3 plus million toll-way in a flood way that by definition is going to flood."

Voters To Decide On Trinity River Project's Future


(CBS 11 News)
Copyright 2007

DALLAS Texas elections will take place on November 6.

One of the most closely watched local races is the proposed toll-way project in the Trinity River corridor in Dallas.

Voters originally approved $246 million for the project in 1998. The package included money for parks, lakes and wet lands stretching from Texas Stadium to I-20. A parkway to help relieve traffic congestion on the nearby Stemmons corridor was also a part of the deal.

Now voters will decide if that relief will come in the form of a 6-lane elevated toll road between the levees.

In the convoluted politics of election's legalese, to support the toll road in the levees you must vote 'no.' If you want the toll road out, you must vote 'yes.'

"This is a project that is going to change the face of Dallas," said Mayor Tom Leppert during a debate with Sam Coats on TXA 21 News. "It's not about a road. It's not about a park. It's about what Dallas is going to be in the next twenty years."

"The toll road is a financial disaster," said Coats. "There's never been one built in a floodway and it will ruin this park."

Vote 'no' proponents say the route, which would handle up to 100,000 cars a day, was part of the 1998 plan.

"Parkway defines what the road looks like," said Craig Holcomb, a vote 'no' supporter. "Toll road defines how it's paid for. It is entirely possible to have a parkway that is a toll road."

The 'yes' forces say in 1998, voters thought they were approving park funding and a major toll road is a bait and switch.

"Why was it not presented that way in 1998?" asked Allen Gwynn, a vote 'yes' supporter.

'No' forces think moving the road now would delay the project for decades and cause higher costs in redesigning the project.

Alyson Gregory is one of those people. "We don't have a lot to offer, as far as ocean or mountains," she said. "I think the parks are something we can do to increase the aesthetic value of the city."

"We can build a parkway that is compatible with a park," said Holcomb.

Those who oppose the toll road, say the other park projects will go ahead as scheduled. But they argue that a six-lane road will serve as an eye sore that will only hurt the city's air quality.

"With all do respect, it's dumb to put up a $1.3 plus million toll-way in a flood way that by definition is going to flood," said Coats.

"We voted funds for this park, and it turns out that the city can just say, 'OK. We voted for it, but we're not going to spend it on that; we're going to spend it on something else,'" said Peter Groves, who also opposes the toll-way.

© 2007 CBS Stations Group of Texas L.P.:

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