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Mo Money Mo Problems: Leppert's Got Some "Good News" for the Council About Trinity

Earlier tonight, a few of us local media members found in our respective in-boxes a draft of remarks Mayor Tom Leppert is expected to deliver Monday during a 10 a.m. press conference in the Flag Room at Dallas City Hall. He's expected to announce that the city will "invest approximately 29 million dollars to determine the items that need to be addressed" in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Periodic Inspection Report of the Trinity River floodway, in which the Trinity River levee system was deemed "unacceptable." That money, Leppert will say, will also go toward addressing "what's needed to fix those items." He also will say that the Corps will credit or reimburse the city for at least half that $29 million.

As a result of this further study, Leppert is also expected to announce extended delays.

"Our goal is to complete all study work by spring 2012, which will allow for construction activities to begin," reads the draft, which you can read by clicking here, where you'll also find the schedule of events and City Manager Mary Suhm's briefing to the council sent via Sunday afternoon. "Meeting this goal means that the construction for the Dallas Floodway would be delayed by about 10 months while the Trinity Parkway Construction would be delayed by 20 months."

Leppert will be joined at tomorrow's press conference by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, both of whom will speak, as will council member Dave Neumann, chair of the council's Trinity River Corridor Project Committee. In his remarks, Leppert refers to the developments as "good news"; Suhm, in separate documents sent to council members this evening, writes that "without the Trinity River Corridor Project, the City would not have a federally authorized Corps project that provides the mechanism for the City and Corps to cost share in these activities."

Alas, Leppert says toward the end of the draft: "The City encourages residents and business owners along the floodway to be prudent and purchase flood insurance now at reduced rates."

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Angela Hunt tells us she'll be there with former council members Sandy Greyson and John Loza. "The city has got to separate this toll road from the levee improvements," she says. "We've got to put public safety first."

Hunh. I wonder what Schutze and Merten are doing tomorrow morning at 10.

In other toll road-related news, the council vote on its preferred alternative has been postponed. Based on public requests, the Federal Highway Administration extended the public comment period on the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement to June 30. And the council will be briefed Wednesday on an update of the Corps' inspection. 

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