Archive for the ‘tollroads’ Category

August 2, 2007

Federal Trinity River Funding Approved by House

Just got a memo from Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson’s office saying that the House has passed the 2007 Water Resources Act. This bill includes $298 million for the Trinity River Project, which is the federally-funded portion of this project. Please reference a previous Dallas Progress article for the particulars regarding this Bill. The Bill now awaits approval from the Senate.

The memo is after the jump.

CHAIRWOMAN JOHNSON APPLAUDS HOUSE PASSAGE OF WATER RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT

Measure includes key Johnson provisions which will benefit Trinity Corridor Development and the entire State of Texas

Washington, DC – (Wednesday, August 1, 2007) Today, the House passed legislation, originating in Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson’s Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, which authorized approximately $21 billion for about 900 water resource project and studies nationwide. Specifically the measure authorizes $298 million for development within the Trinity Corridor in Dallas. The measure goes to the President once it wins final approval from the Senate.

Congresswoman Johnson was one of the principal authors of the legislation, known as the Water Resources Development Act or WRDA, and served as a conferee with the Senate. She gave the following remarks upon final House consideration of the bill:

“The clock is working against the infrastructure of our country.

The seven years we have waited to enact a Water Resources Development Bill have lead to significant increases in costs to adequately address the nation’s deteriorating water resources and flood control infrastructure.

I am delighted that we, as conferees, have come to an agreement on the issues of independent review, environmental infrastructure, and individual projects that have, up until now, prevented us from crafting a final conference report.

We do right by this country when we invest in its infrastructure.

Enactment of a Water Resources bill this year is critical to economic prosperity, job creation, protection of the environment, and public safety.

Since Congress last passed a Water Resources Development Act, we have seen Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastate the Gulf Coast and my home state of Texas , flooding cities, damaging economies and businesses, and threatening public health.

No water resources bill has been enacted since the year 2000 – the entire term of the current administration. I deeply regret that the Administration has decided to turn its back on a bill that will put Americans to work with good paying jobs, protect lives and property, and bolster our nation’s infrastructure.

A recent report by the Texas Section of Civil Engineers assessed my state’s infrastructure and rendered a dismal, cumulative grade of below average. The assessment of the state’s flood control faired even worse, with the state receiving a failing grade of D minus.

Over the past decade, Texas has experienced 15 federally declared disasters, most involving flooding. Moreover, Texas leads the nation in terms of dollars paid for flood claims, second only to the State of Louisiana .

The population of Texas is expected to double in the next 30 to 40 years. Development in and near floodplains can be expected to increase, as developers continue to build near the State’s rivers, lakes, and coastline.

In my district the Dallas Floodway accepts 1,600 square miles of Trinity River watershed runoff and safely moves the floodwaters through the City of Dallas by virtue of levees that form both sides of the 2,000-foot wide floodway. The Floodway levees protect the downtown Dallas vicinity from a potential flood damage loss to properties and infrastructure of $8 billion or more.

The 23 miles of levees for the Dallas Floodway were originally constructed by local interests in 1932 and reconstructed by the Corps in 1960. Since 1960, the upstream watershed has experienced exploding population growth that was not expected, which has significantly increased runoff, overwhelmed our antiquated interior drainage pumps, and greatly reduced the flood protection afforded by the Dallas Floodway levees.

My district’s flood control needs are great, and like other communities across the nation, they are anxiously anticipating the resumption of a predictable, consistent, and two-year WRDA cycle.

I am glad our work here today brings us one step closer to that reality.

The bill before us authorizes a number of studies and projects, particularly for the restoration of coastal Louisiana , the restoration of the Florida Everglades, and the restoration of the Upper Mississippi River and Illinois Waterway System.

Again, we do right by this country when we invest in its infrastructure. Communities across the country have been waiting seven long years to begin their noteworthy flood control and water infrastructure projects.

I am pleased that we have been able to put our heads together and once and for all advance this vitally important and long overdue legislation for the American people.

The time to act is now.”

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July 30, 2007

Of Course

Last night, it was made official. TrinityVote has enough signatures to move forward with the petition to change the tollroad.

Rather than pontificate on the outcome of the election (we have 3 months for that), as usual I want to talk about something else.

I really don’t appreciate some of the comments directed towards our City Secretary, Deborah Watkins. What’s the problem with making sure that the signatures are OK?

To her credit, Angela never once said anything as stupid as half of these columnists. The detractors keep talking about having their “patience exhausted.” Get over yourselves! The purpose of the City Secretary’s office is to get it right not to please all of you that need to know everything to meet your news deadline. The City Secretary’s office is way better since she took over and you know it. The truth is, most of you need her to give you something to write about when you aren’t busy copying off of blogs and claiming you break new stories.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…vote on.

June 29, 2007

TrinityVote = On!

As you may have heard, we got our signatures. We needed 48,000 and got 80,000! That’s not a typo. Apparently, most all of the sigs have been verified before being turned in to City Hall.

It’s tough, because in this process I disagree with some people that I really like and hold a high level of regard. But this is about safety and carrying out the will of the people.

Angela is amazing. And so are all of the people that volunteered and did way more than me in this effort to bring the matter in front of the voters. Once again, she stated the voting for TrinityVote would not endanger any of the plans for the Trinity River Project.

Again, I am not opposed to the project but I am opposed to a high-speed tollroad going through the middle of the park. I am more worried about people that live in South Dallas, Cadillac Heights, Oak Cliff, West Dallas, and Pleasant Grove being losing their homes and dying. If we have 80,000 then hopefully we’ll have 80,000 people show up at the polls in November.

May 4, 2007

TrinityVote

Everyone knows that how I feel about the Trinity River Project in its current form. Again, I’m not against the Trinity Project, just against the rising price tag and the falsehood which says that a high-speed tollway must be part of the deal. Along with my own thoughts, I want to bring you some different writers over the course of the next two months.

The first is Rick Wamre of the Advocate Group of Magazines. His current editorial is a great way to lead off this series. Rick, thanks for letting me use this piece! Check it out:

Click to view editorial

April 12, 2007

Laura Miller Threatens to Suppress Voters?

Reading Back Talk, one of my favorite blogs from the publishers of the Lakewood Advocate magazine, it sure looks that way. Check out their post.

Schutze said the same thing on Unfair Park.

Cited in the Back Talk post is the KRLD podcast from the Ernie & Jay show, during which Laura Miller says things like:

On the issue of toll roads having their toll booths removed once the road costs are paid in full (like it used to be):

“Those days are over….there’s never going to happen that we’re going to build toll lanes when a toll disappears (her bad grammar, not mine).”

Nice.

I leave you with a quote from Jim’s article:

Obviously the money bullies are going to line up against this petition drive, with Mayor Laura as the lead bully. What an absolutely depressing and totally disappointing legacy for her to leave behind.

74 days left to the inauguration, and the end of the LM era! What a happy day that will be!

April 11, 2007

House Passes Two-Year Moratorium on Toll Roads

HB 1892 passed the House yesterday by a vote of 134-5-2. Eye On Williamson, Sal Costello , and Capitol Annex were on top of the situation and were great as usual.

The bill calls for a two-year moratorium on toll roads everywhere EXCEPT the four counties in North Texas. You can thank blog-hater Vicki Truitt (R-Southlake) for that one. (Note to Truitt: everybody doesn’t live in Southlake – we can’t afford tolls!)

As Eye on Williamson duly notes, this bill must pass the Senate and a veto by Gov Perry. In other words, we haven’t won yet.

March 23, 2007

How to Make Enemies and Influence No One

TxDOT’s high level of gall has reached new levels.

The Statesman blogs that the Houston Chronicle notes a high level of anger directed toward TxDot from Congress. Shouts to the Somervell County Salon for this one. Apparently, a letter this month from TxDOT’s executive director tells members of Congress that they will no longer support their individual road projects unless they obtain state and regional approval before pursuing federal funding.

The article notes that both sides of the aisle aren’t happy:

“Arrogant,” fumed Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco. “A letter like this is not a way to build relationships,” complained Rep. Gene Green, D-Houston.

Said Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble: “TxDOT needs to understand the elected representatives make the decisions on what projects we do — not the bureaucrats.”

Keep it up, TxDot. You’re doing a great job, Brownie.