The U.S. Olympic Committee met yesterday, and one of the things reportedly on the agenda was which American city, maybe Dallas, will get to bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. It's a long, obscure, secretive convoluted competition -- sort of a modern bribery pentathlon -- and we're just excited as heck about the prospect.
No, not about the Olympics themselves. Jesus, who wants to boil in traffic for weeks so the world's best synchronized swimmers and table tennis players can duke it out for the gold in North Texas? We're excited because we can't wait to see how supporters of the Trinity toll road will use the Olympic bid to justify building that albatross -- untenable, unfunded and now unwanted by growing numbers of former supporters. The most recent was the Dallas chapter of the American Institute of Architects, which last week said it is "unable to endorse" the current plan for the road until it knows more about the whole redevelopment plan around the river corridor, something that has been debated around here since about 1857.
Toll road supporters never say die, though, even though there was a mock funeral for the road held in Oak Cliff last weekend. They always find a new reason to justify paying $1.5 gazillion to pave Dallas' biggest stretch of green space. The latest argument, being pitched heartily from the opinion section of the Morning News, is that the economically oppressed people of southern Dallas shall only truly overcome when we build this road to give them an easier commute to their jobs in the north. The Reverend King had a dream. It involved ZipCash.
Peter Simek, on D Magazine's FrontBurner blog, did a nice takedown of that argument -- the laughable "progressive" case for the road -- pointing out that the historical relationship between freeway construction and poor communities involves bulldozers and white flight (not in those words exactly, but close). Unlike, say, this post, his essay was intelligent, clear and to the point.
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And it will do absolutely nothing to sway diehard Trinity roadsters who have an inexhaustible supply of shibboleths.
Listen, they've pitched us lakes and sailboats and congestion relief to get their road. The toll road has been a reliever route to allow the rebuilding of other roads, and it has been a necessity all by its lonesome to make up for the fact that we're not going to rebuild other roads as much as we thought. Now they've sunk so low as to conflate a toll road through the heart of a park with progressivism.
If Dallas does manage to move ahead in its Olympics bid, expect to hear about how the road will be key to handling the crush of international visitors. And if we don't get the nod to bid on the Olympics? Well, we would have, dang it, if only we were the sort of smart, progressive people who preferred toll roads to parkland.
And if THAT doesn't work, we suggest toll road supporters go all in. New slogan. New justification. One last push that's sure to be a winner: "The Trinity Parkway: It Cures Erectile Dysfunction. Guaranteed."