Friday, February 13, 2009

Hutichison throws weight behind Trinity Toll Road Boondoggle

Army Corps of Engineers to appoint a liaison for Dallas' Trinity River toll road


The Dallas Morning News
Copyright 2009

In response to frustration from Dallas officials over cooperation on the Trinity River toll road project, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to appoint a high-level employee to act as a liaison between Dallas, the North Texas Tollway Authority and top corps officials in Washington.

The decision comes a day after Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert met with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and leading corps officials in Hutchison’s Capitol Hill office.

According to people familiar with the meeting, the mayor expressed frustration that there was no single contact at the corps for the city to reach out to with concerns about project delays.

Corps officials created the new position Thursday evening. The liaison, whose name and title have not yet been made public, will have an office in downtown Dallas near City Hall.

It is unclear what authority the liaison will have and whether that will include the ability to direct engineers in the corps’ Fort Worth office who are running the agency’s work on the toll road project.

Leppert and corps officials were not immediately available for comment.

A spokesman for Hutchison said the senator was pleased the corps had taken quick action.

“The corps has shown that they are committed to making this project a success, and I believe the corps’ actions will ensure the Trinity River project moves forward,” Hutchison said in prepared statement.

The corps is responsible for the integrity of the Trinity River levees that protect Dallas from flooding. Engineering and construction of the toll road directly affect those levees and is subject to corps' approval.

© 2009 The Dallas Morning News:

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