Thursday, November 1, 2007

Thank you KERA

As I got in my car yesterday afternoon I was thinking that it would be great if KERA did some stories on the Trinity River toll road. Then I turned the radio on and heard this story from Bill Zeeble, which is apparently part of a series being done this week on the subject. Zeeble's story is about the impact of the toll road on Industrial Blvd.

Today's installment from Shelley Kofler is important. I hope they play it often and lots of people hear it. This exposes a frequent Leppert fib that the Corps of Engineers has signed off on the toll road. They have not. From the story:

Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, leading the toll road effort, has said the agency in charge of protecting the waterway, the US Army Corp of Engineers, has signed off on the plan.

Leppert: "The Corps has signed off on the safety issues. They signed off on the environmental issues. They feel very comfortable with it."

But the Corps' Trinity Corridor Project Manager Gene Rice says the road is yet to be approved. There's no final design.

Rice: " We've made no determination at this time on whether the project will be acceptable or not. We are still working with the transportation interests to make sure it could go in safely if it goes in. But no determination has been made or will be made for several years."

Mayor Leppert later told us he didn't mean a final sign off , but a sign off of the direction the city's going in.

Leppert often claims to be "comfortable" with something when he wants to convey a "yes" without actually saying it. It's a verbal cue that he's being evasive or misleading.

Here's Leppert getting caught in another of what we'll generously call one of his "half-truths" from a story earlier in the week:

Can Project Pegasus (the plan for fixing the I30-I35 mixmaster) and the mixmaster be improved without the Trinity tollroad? Mayor Leppert doesn't think so.

Leppert: You haven't heard the alternative plan because there isn't one.

Texas' top road official, Texas Transportation Chairman Ric Williamson agrees there would be delays, but he says he cannot imagine a scenario where Project Pegasus would be scrapped.

Williamson: If the tollroad as invisioned now is radically changed Project Pegasus will have to be redesigned. I'm not taking a position it's just a logical conclusion. Project Pegasus is so important to the clean air plan and congestion relief for North Texas I can't imagine a circumstance where it wouldn't be redesigned and moved forward. It's just that important.

Keep up the good work KERA. I hope lots of undecided voters hear this. Looking forward to the next insallment. Here's the site with all the stories from this week.

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