| Schutze |

The Lie is Now in Sessions

Yesterday, Pete Sessions told a crowd that included Mayor Tom that the feds will kill the Trinity River project's funding should we vote no on the toll road. Nuhn-unh, congressman.

Trinity River toll road backers have been trying for months to get somebody in Washington to say that if Dallas votes against the toll road in November, all the federal funding will dry up for the rest of the multibillion-dollar Trinity River parks and lakes program. U.S. Senator John Cornyn and Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson already have declined to say it for them, mainly because it’s such a stupid and untrue thing to say.

The rest of the Trinity program is already funded. And most of that is flood control money. If Congress somehow took that money away retroactively, it would do so at the cost of exposing the city to disaster.

But yesterday -- aha! They found their Mikey. Or. in this case, their Pete. The Dallas Business Journal reports about a Greater Dallas Chamber affair yesterday:

"If this fails, going to sell it again" will be difficult, said Sessions, R-Dallas, referring to a scheduled Nov. 6 referendum on the project.

Translation: Vote against that toll road, and we in Washington will take away the money for the rest of the deal.

I have a call in to Sessions’ staff in Washington. I want them to tell me which part of the funding Sessions thinks will have to be re-sold. Does he plan to de-fund the main portion of the project -- flood control – which is already funded? Is the message here: Give my homies in Dallas their toll road, or I will unleash Katrina on you?

The Corps of Engineers has already stated categorically that the rest of the project will go ahead without a ripple, whether the toll road is built or not. Does Sessions have a way to rescind that and screw the project up as vengeance?

Pretty interesting. Sessions threatens us with floods if we don’t vote for the toll road.

He can’t mean money for the road, because the road is only one-third or one-fourth funded anyway, with a relatively small portion of that coming from the feds. That’s the main problem with the road: It’s not a source of money. It’s a black hole of money. It’s what’s holding up the rest of the project.

I mentioned in my phone message to the congressman’s staff that I suspect the congressman is actually quite unfamiliar with the funding of this project and is making idle threats here to help out political consultant Carol Reed and her new marionette, Tom Leppert, with the campaign for the toll road. But I also said I am eager to be contradicted. I described myself, I believe, as “all ears.”

Think about it. Mr. Conservative-Limited-Government here, Pete Sessions, basically telling us, “Do what we politicians tell you to do on the toll road, or we will crack the Washington whip on your ass.” --Jim Schutze

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