"Being held to a higher standard."
By BRAD WATSON
DALLAS — The Dallas City Council Wednesday agreed to move forward with work on drainage improvements in the Trinity River floodway, even though the Army Corps of Engineers gave a failing grade to the river's levee system through the central city.
Work to assess the economic impact of the project and to design it is estimated to cost $2.5 million.
On Tuesday, the Corps declared the levee system to be unacceptable using tougher standards in the wake of the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster. Out of 170 items under review, 34 were found lacking.
Council member Angela Hunt and some of her colleagues feel the city should hold off on further work and spending on the Trinity project until the levees can be repaired.
"We should not minimize this," Hunt said, "and we should take every step possible to make our levees safe."
"We have delayed this; we have continued to try to delay it and that sort of thing, and the only people who get hurt are the citizens of this city, and that's unfortunate," Mayor Tom Leppert said.
The majority of Council members agreed with Mayor Leppert and voted to spend the $2.5 million needed to continue work on the highway project.
It remains unclear what the city must do to bring the levees up to Corps of Engineers standards and what the final price tag will be.
City officials stress that the levees have held back Trinity River flooding for decades now; they are simply being held to a higher standard.