Last month, Mayor Mike Rawlings asked the Texas Department of Transportation for figures showing the relative merits of building the Trinity toll road versus reviving the abandoned Project Pegasus, which would improve downtown's current highways of hell. This was after numbers provided by toll road opponents prompted the mayor to rethink his full-throated support for the long-delayed project.
He quickly dismissed any notion that he was walking back his stated support, and expressed confidence that TxDOT's numbers would only affirm the contention that the toll road is the way to go, which seemed a sensible enough conclusion once the agency called BS on its own numbers.
No surprise, then, to learn that Mayor Mike's predictions were right. He sent a 23-page memo to the City Council this morning that you can read in full below, but the takeaway can be found on page two:
In short, my answer to the question that has been raised "Is Pegasus 'better' in the short term than the (Trinity) Parkway?" is simply, no.
We already believe the levees are safe and will support a Parkway. We are moving quickly on trails, lakes and other amenities. We now are sure that the Parkway is the most cost efficient option as well. Now that TX DOT has been tremendously clear on the capacity issue I believe it is obvious what must be done. We must move in hast to build our Trinity Parkway.
According to the attached memo from TxDOT district engineer Bill Hale, the toll road will provide capacity for 132,000 additional vehicles per day, Pegasus only 93,300. The toll road would cost $1.47 billion, or $167 million per mile, while Pegasus would cost $1.2 billion, or $184 million per mile. Plus, the Trinity Parkway "has a significant funding source (toll revenue) to help support the project" (though we still don't know how it will be paid for on the front end).
Schutze is locked in his office crying, but we'll coax him out very shortly and ask him to hose you down with some truth. Until then, enjoy: