TxDOT has long been using $100 million as the cost of repairing I-345, all while consistently nudging the amount it would take to tear it down further north, to where it is now — around $1.9 billion. How long have they been using $100 million? Since 2005. According to spokesperson Michelle Raglon, that number comes from a study that only analyzed “a handful of segments of 345.” Why is that a big deal? There are 165 segments. That is a lot more than a handful, and those are eight-year-old cost estimates.
In other words: it’s not just hogwash. It’s practically ancient hogwash.
A new, more comprehensive study now suggests it could cost as much as $242 million. That number is couched as “a plan for the worst-case scenario.” I would couch it, instead, as “conservative,” since I would not trust they have an actual dollar amount locked down just yet. Maybe ballparked.
Say it is $242 million. That brings the cost to repair 345 much more in line with the cost to tear it down (forget that $1.9 billion — that is essentially drawn out of a hat). And the difference would be made up very quickly when you factor in new investment that would come from tearing 345 down. But, anyway, I’ve probably said enough. What do you think Councilman Philip Kingston?
“Here’s what’s going on: We know they make up the numbers. So, they decided to run with this $100-million figure because it sounded good? I don’t know.”
“This is an example of TxDOT having contempt for the people it’s supposed to represent. Absolute contempt. This project was the subject of a yearlong public input process where the public, along with local governments, is supposed to be able to give TxDOT feedback about what we need locally and what makes sense for our transportation needs. One of the central elements has got to be how much does this solution cost. If we don’t have a credible figure on that, the whole process is a sham.”