On Friday, we discussed Michael Morris, who is the transportation director of the North Texas Council of Governments. Morris has played the race card, intimating that everyone in support of tearing down I-345 is rich and white and not concerned with poor people. Morris said he attended a meeting about the future of I-345 and noticed the following about those who want to tear it down:
“They were all white, they were very wealthy and I don’t think any of them live in the neighborhood.”
Now Morris, along with another road guy, Bill Hale, TxDOT’s Dallas District Engineer, has offered another argument for why we shouldn’t tear down I-345: because it can’t be done until the Trinity tollway is built (which now pretty much everyone but Morris realizes is not going to happen). He and Hale are set to make this case to the Regional Transportation Council on Thursday. You can get a sneak peek here.
As a side note, if you follow that link, you’ll see Morris and Hale talking about an “inner loop” that they want to build. As in: “Consideration should also be given to a new ‘inner loop’ study that would address how to move traffic from I-35E to the Hospital District to Love Field, and on to the Dallas North Tollway, Central and I-30.” If I’m not mistaken, Morris is talking about turning Mockingbird into a road that can handle higher volumes. We already had that discussion. It was never going to happen. And clearly it wasn’t needed.
But back to the supposed relationship between the Trinity tollway and I-345. Morris himself knows this relationship doesn’t exist. In 2007, he issued this memo, in which he offered 10 reasons why the Trinity tollway should be built. The memo lists all the projects that absolutely can’t get done without the Trinity tollway, most of which have gone ahead just fine without the tollway. The memo also includes a map with highlighted roads that are impacted by the tollway. I-345 is not among those roads. But back in 2007, I-345 wasn’t part of the conversation about how to reinvigorate the city’s urban core. So now Morris has changed his mind about its importance to fit his agenda.
Michael Morris is an old-school conventional thinker for whom concrete is the only answer. We shouldn’t let him dictate Dallas’ future.