Sam Merten's heading to City Hall this afternoon for the 2 p.m. Transportation and Environment Committee get-together. Thrilling, yup. Only, there is an item of considerable interest on the agenda: Michael Morris, Director of Transportation for the North Central Texas Council of Governments, is scheduled to address the council committee concerning the Texas Department of Transportation's budget shortfall and how that absentee billion-plus will impact Dallas projects.
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For those paying attention to the city's Web site, Assistant City Manager Ramón F. Míguez on Friday sent the committee and other fiscally concerned city officials a sneak peek at the construction to be delayed by the shortfall, including a $35-million project scheduled to "reconstruct and raise Northwest Highway out of the White Rock Creek floodplain" and a $50-million extension of Woodall Rogers Freeway across the Trinity River, where it would "connect on both ends to the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge." And that's just for starters, as the budgets for right-of-way acquisitions and engineering designs for "several projects important to Dallas" are also being trimmed by significant millions. So, yeah, thrilling would be a good word for it after all. Oh, Schutze just called -- he's going too, something about "a DART update"? --Robert Wilonsky