Trinity Parkway Already Taking Its Toll

The Dallas City Council's Trinity River Corridor Project Committee gets a briefing at 9:30 this morning on hurdles facing the Trinity River toll road project. They'll have people there from the North Texas Tollway Authority and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. I really wish they had thought to ask me. I could have whipped together a PowerPoint for them called "Biggest Hurdle: Really Dumb Idea to Begin With." Ah, but there I go again.

At one point this morning, they are supposed to talk about the money. That should be interesting. The real key there is the traffic projections. From the beginning, the biggest hurdle facing the Trinity toll road has been very low traffic projections. It doesn't go where people want to go. Especially with a toll road, that means not enough toll collections to pay off the bonds for the road.

What that means is that in order to do this project, somebody's got to get some free money. I wonder if this is where they're hoping to get a bunch of Obamamoney.

Another thing to watch is the physical design itself. The briefing materials for today's session seem to show the road built as an elevated bridge the length of and parallel to the levees.

Does anybody remember when the city said it was going to pay for the excavation of the lakes by selling the dirt to the tollway authority so the road could be built on a dirt shelf? I don't see a dirt shelf in these graphics. Wow, if this whole thing has to go up on a bridge, that's going to take a trainload of Obamamoney.

And, by the way, that wonderful view of the river they keep saying will spur fancy residential development along the Trinity? Looks like you'll need Superman's X-ray vision to see through the toll road.

I have an idea that might solve that, if anybody would ever invite me to make a presentation. I really want to help. I don't want to give away too much of my idea, because it's not patented yet. But, just as a teaser, I'll tell you this much: It involves giant mirrors on the Oak Cliff side and works on the principle of a periscope.

Plus, it would be coupled with a public education campaign telling people how important it is not to look at the toll road when they look out there. Tell you what, I'll do my own damn briefing. Later. For now, Merten's on his way to City Hall. Poor guy.

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