"It isn't the Corps of Engineers' role to advocate the road's construction, but to ensure the Trinity levees remain sound flood guards."
By RUDOLPH BUSH
The Dallas Morning News
After a steady stream of news about setbacks and budget shortfalls for the planned Trinity River toll road, Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and City Manager Mary Suhm flew to Washington, D.C., on Thursday to seek assistance from Capitol Hill.
Frustration has been growing inside City Hall and among Trinity project backers over the pace at which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is moving on review and approval of various engineering elements of the toll road's design.
The corps' role was a major part of talks Leppert conducted with U.S. Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas, and Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, and Republican Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison.
"I would say that we clearly communicated how important it was to move forward as expeditiously as we could," Leppert said. "Delays are costly in a number of different ways. We're pushing, and we need everybody to work with us."
A Hutchison spokesman confirmed that the project's pace and the corps' work were important parts of the meeting.
"Senator Hutchison is working with the mayor to ensure strong communication between the city and Army Corps of Engineers on the project," said Hutchison communications director Jeff Sadosky.
Hutchison has closely followed the Trinity project, and a series of recent stories about setbacks and growing budget gaps prompted the meeting with Leppert.
Corps officials have long said that they are moving as quickly as they can.
But they have stressed that it isn't the corps' role to advocate the road's construction, but to ensure the Trinity levees remain sound flood guards.
© 2009 The Dallas Morning News: www.dallasnews.com
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