Monday afternoon, the Army Corps of Engineers concluded the decades-long approval process for the Trinity River project. Dallas can begin building a park between the Trinity River levees in addition to the Trinity toll road in whatever guise it may take. That is, the city can start on the portion of the project for which it has money. The Corps approval provides for a 65/35 split -- with the feds paying the bigger portion -- but that only applies to the $572 million in flood protection and ecosystem restoration the Corps signed off on. The Trinity toll road itself remains largely unfunded.
Like the Federal Highway Administration, the Corps approved the big-honking version of the toll road that no one claims to support. That doesn't mean the six-lane monstrosity has to get built, necessarily, but it does mean that the high-speed, park-killing version of the road is, as ever, still in play.
The Corps lauded the flood protection the full Trinity plan provides in its press releases announcing the project's approval.
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"Today's approval could not have been achieved without many years of dedicated work by the city of Dallas and Corps staff," Lieutenant Colonel W. Neil Craig, acting commander of the corps' Fort Worth district said. "Life safety is the No. 1 goal of our team. Together we crafted a plan that reduces flood risk for more than the 200,000 Dallas citizens who live and work near the river."
To acheive that reduced flood risk, the Corps plan calls for flattening of the Trinity's levees, raising some of the levees' low spots and improving drainage by expanding pump stations.