My apologies to those who have been waiting for the latest salvo in the Wick Allison vs. Angela Hunt debate. There will be no salvo, because on her central point, Angela Hunt is right. It has taken me a little time to post because I have a company to run, but I owe the councilwoman a retraction and an apology, which I am happy to issue.
In June, 2007, I wrote in opposition to Angela Hunt’s referendum on the Trinity Parkway:
“The entire Trinity project is premised on the federal money the parkway attracts.”
Anglea Hunt called me out on that statement then, and she’s calling me out on it again:
“1. Identify the specific programs within the Trinity Project that receive, or will receive, federal money as a result of the toll road.Â 2. Indicate the amount of federal funding received for (or anticipated to be received for) each program. 3. Identify any other aspects of the Trinity River Corridor Project that you claim would “lose federal funding” as a result of eliminating the toll road from the floodway. Specify amounts of funding lost.”
Then she adds that wonderfully Angelaic touch:
“Please indicate amounts in U.S. Dollars, rounded to the nearest decimal point.”
Like any good attorney, Hunt knew the answer before she asked the question. And her answer is correct. Â I was wrong. The Trinity Project is not dependent on federal highway money. With additional Dallas taxpayer money, we can build the park without a tollway or even a reliever road.
Why would killing the road require additional taxpayer money? There are three things that the NTTA has agreed to do to construct the tollway that the City of Dallas would have to do if the NTTA tollroad is cancelled. First, there is the excavation of the lakes, costing between $25 and $30 million, and finding a place to dump theÂ mud that was going to be used as a base for the road. Â Second, ramps need to be built giving access to the park from the bridges, costing about $15 million. Third, there is the latest Corps of Engineers requirement that piers for the bridges where the bridge road passes over the levees must be protected from water seepage, costing about $45 million.Â As far as I can tell, those are the costs the City of Dallas would have to assume if there were no parkway. It amounts to about $90 million. There is no federal money involved.