I don't know if Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway is a smart man. I don't know if he's an honest man. But I know Dwaine Caraway loves to hear Dwaine Caraway talk, and for some reason, people love to watch Dwaine Caraway loving to hear himself talk. Which maybe explains today's trolley jaunt around Uptown celebrating the awarding of a $4.9 million Urban Circulator Grant to expand the McKinney Avenue Trolley on a loop through downtown. Because they haven't even really started planning the thing yet. They certainly haven't started building anything yet. Guess life's a little slow for the city folks now that they're on summer vacation.
Caraway invited Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson ("the hardest working lady in Washington, D.C.") along for the ride, and she was joined by Federal Transportation Authority Deputy Administrator Therese McMillan, Linda Koop and some old dudes. At a pre-ride press conference Caraway noted that "Dallas is literally undergoing a transformation," and that the trolley system is "a jewel in the heart of our city." Unfortch, as of now the MATA is really only a coronary artery near the heart of our city -- the grant funds the trolley system's expansion through downtown, which is expected to happen sometime roundabouts 2013, right after the aliens come and get us.
Congresswoman Johnson was positive-ish about the outlook for North Texas ever having a complete, connected system of public transit: "I think we're gonna get there." Quelle encouraging! Later, McMillan praised the city's "bottoms-up idea" in applying for the grant. I presume she wasn't intending to describe the work of Johnson and others as similar to that of a drunk person with a dream.
After the conference, we rode around the air-conditioned trolley, with the government folk in one section and the media and plebes in another. It was the first time I'd ever ridden the system, which is presently tailor-made to take you and all your friends to the Gap before stopping off at the khaki-casual bar of your choice, where you can drink as many Bud Lights as your heart desires and listen to the complete works of the Dave Matthews Band before riding back to your luxury-style, $2/square foot Gables/Post/Mailbox condopartment. If you had the energy, you could even do it all over again! Oh lawdy, but that might be too much fun.
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We stopped around St. Paul and Ross Ave.--trolley doesn't go any farther, at least not yet, you see, that's why they've got the dollars rolling in--and Caraway and the gang blew party horns and threw confetti. Then they did it again so somebody else could take another picture of them. Oh, Lord, it was almost too much fun.