Finally, We Nail the Real Reason Dallas Needs That Trinity Toll Road

Categories: Schutze

SHZ_GetOffMyLawn_TitleImageV2.jpg
OK, look, just see if you can follow me here, because I need to know if I am following myself. You tell me.

Michael Morris, a regional transportation official who gets quoted, has always said we need to build a new super-highway along the Trinity River, walling it off from downtown, because the new highway will serve as a "reliever route" while the main expressways through downtown are being rebuilt.

Never mind that contractors rebuilt the entire "High Five" interchange at LBJ and Central Expressway without building a new expressway somewhere else as a detour. Never mind that they are now rebuilding North LBJ itself without building a new expressway somewhere else as a detour.

Morris said we have to build the toll road along the Trinity as a detour, or the state will never rebuild the main expressways through downtown. They'll pull their money. That was the whole "Don't Let Angela Hunt Send a Billion Dollars Down the River" thing in the 2007 referendum that approved the toll road over Hunt's and others' objections.

Now the rebuilding of the main expressways through downtown, called "Project Pegasus," is kaput. Why? No money. Turns out the state didn't have the billion dollars in the first place.

The total cost for Pegasus was going to be $2 billion. The state had only $1 billion. They're a billion short. So they're doing half of the project.

State highway officials have said they don't need the toll road in place to do the half-project. They have changed the name from Pegasus to Horseshoe. At least they didn't change it to Flying Horse Turd (Watch out!!!). Anyway. Sorry. I'm going to try to do better on that stuff. Never grew up. Sorry.

So here's the bend in the road that I'm not sure I can see around. We're short a billion dollars of what it would take to rebuild all the major highways through downtown. We are also short at least a billion dollars of what it would take to build the "reliever route."

In a recent article in The Dallas Morning News, Morris said building the reliever route is all the more important now because we're not getting the total rebuild. He told the News: "The Trinity is more important to us given the fact that the Pegasus project is being pushed out into the future."

Wait. Wait. Help me here.

tweedle.jpg
"Contrariwise," continued Tweedledee, "if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic."
We're short a billion to do the second half of the main thing. We're short a billion to do the detour thing. If we had a billion, why wouldn't we spend it doing the main thing?

It's just the second half of the main thing. They've already shown they can do the first half of the main thing without building an entire new expressway as a detour. So why would we take our billion and build a detour that they don't need for the second half, and use all our money, and then we would have no money left for the rest of the main thing?

OK. OK. This sounds stupid, I know. You're thinking, "There's a reason, Schutze. Nobody is that stupid. They have a reason. You're either more stupider than they are and you don't know the reason, or you do know the reason and you're not telling us, so you're a turd."

I do know the reason. I do. And I will tell it.

They are that stupid. That's it. I swear. That's the answer. Don't try to make it more complicated. It's just that simple. The people behind the Trinity River toll road are idiots.

Not Morris. He's smart. But he works for the idiots. He comes up with this Professor Doubletalk crap because that's what they pay him for.

The basic underlying idea, to build a tolled expressway along the Trinity River, continues to rear its ugly head in spite of all contradictory fact and reality, even though the public arguments for it flip inside out and upside down over the years, because the Trinity River toll road is the obsession of the city's old not-very-bright-ocracy. The too-many-toddies set. The please-sir-this-is-not-the-bathroom set.

They're just that stupid. The toll road is just that stupid. End of story.

You still with me?

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44 comments
Doug
Doug

Morris may be smart....but he's also a whore.

Danny
Danny

The whole premise that this road is going to somehow relieve congestion around downtown is completely absurd.  The bottleneck isn't to/from the mixmaster, the bottleneck IS the mixmaster.  Adding another massive highway funneling thousands of cars straight to downtown is going to do exactly what any sane person would expect it to do: MAKE DOWNTOWN TRAFFIC WORSE.

Da Truth
Da Truth

Project Pegasus may as well be as likely as Project Unicorn. Dallas has been promised rainbows and sparkles but continues to get a whole lot of Flying Horse Turds.

Dalguy
Dalguy

Hey, this is Dallas, we build stuff.  Just look at the Omni Disco Hotel, the Necklace Bridge to Nowhere and the Radioactive Middle Finger Tower in the Arts District.  We just build stuff.

Larry
Larry

Standard load of bullocks to justify continued support of a bad idea.

Count on the News; they sure prevented that bridge by publishing the cost overrun in time.

Mixmaster plans:   http://www.txdot.gov/about_us/...

named Horseshoe.   missed by only 2 letters....

Diana Powe
Diana Powe

I remember nodding my head in agreement with the gloomy predictions of what a complete disaster traffic would be when N. Central Expressway was widened. I'm still amazed at the way they managed to get it done without causing the city to come to a standstill.

iamspecial
iamspecial

Idah tinkit iza gewd eyedea! yay me!

jrs
jrs

Wilbur Smith is the lead for NTCOG infrastructure analysis for Southern Dallas County. Wonder how that fits in the transportation plan

dallasmay
dallasmay

While we are talking about funneling Hundreds of millions of Dallas tax payer $$ into the bank accounts of mega design/build companies, don't forget the 2012 Bond Program! 

http://builtbigd.wordpress.com...

Likeicare
Likeicare

only an idiot, or group of them, would think it was a good idea to put any road in between the levee system of a river that floods at least twice a year to over the levees.

ChuckE
ChuckE

Why do they keep calling it a "reliever route"? If you look at the NTTA plans, there are NO RAMPS connecting the Toll Road to either IH30 or IH35E (south of downtown). If it doesn't connect to traffic in the Mixmaster, how is it relieving any traffic? How many vehicles moving through the Mixmaster are going from IH45 to SH183/IH35E? That's all it relieves.Granted, there are exits for local streets but if your destination is downtown, I'm not taking the levee route to get there and pay a toll for the privilege.

iamronburgundy
iamronburgundy

OH! And when's UnfairPark going to pick up the Valley View Center story? Not that I think you guys are being lazy... it just seems that the UP writers have a deep affection for VVC and would want to write a story regarding today news!!!!

Danielle
Danielle

Lead the petition drive to get Dallas voters to go on record to say they have changed their minds. THAT is the hard part. Making Observer blog posts is easy.

iamronburgundy
iamronburgundy

JS - Today I must put my arguments with you aside, and embrace you in a hug of comradery. But only for a moment. Tonight I will sharpen Excalibur on my spinning stone and wait for you on the blogging battlefield.

MushMouth1
MushMouth1

Well...there you go using logic again.

Big,expensive,complex projects make you look like a world-class city. Also a lot of people love meetings about big.expensive,complex projects because it makes them look real important and gives them something to talk about at cocktail parties.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

wait, I got it, Build the tollroad in the trinity, demolish 35 and make the Tollraod the main road, then you dont need that extra billion right?

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Which billion does all the money to fix the levees for the Army Corp to even let the road get built come from?

Tom L
Tom L

After 14 years and zero progress on building anything I have to say it's pretty clear nothing is going to be built. And yet the city continues blithely on its way like all is going according to plan and they'll get started on this just any day now.

You're saying this is due to stubborn stupidity. Some group of ultra-rich assholes somewhere behind the scenes is going, "we WANNA tollway! waaaaah!" and the city bureaucracy is jumping to their tune even though they know nothing will ever come of it. Seems to me if we could simply find out who these petulant five-year-olds are and have them committed to a mental institution this whole project would disappear overnight.

Or maybe nobody ever expected to build the thing in the first place. The whole thing is smoke and mirrors hiding the fact that the money associated with the project is evaporating left and right. Last I heard the city had spent well over a hundred million with nothing to show for it except for that slapped-together-overnight model that somebody produced a few years ago. Find out where that money's gone and maybe you'll be closer to who continues to push this thing.

Phelps
Phelps

Same story as always -- follow the money.

Someone stands to siphon off a significant portion of that billion.  When we know who that is, we know who is dumping a tiny proportion of that billion back into the pockets of the corruptocraticans who are pushing it.

cp
cp

Hum, let's start comparing apples to oranges....

JimS
JimS

Yeah, they really deserve credit for that. It was quite an accomplishment, and it shows they would know how to do it again downtown when necessary.

The term "reliever route" is an invention. In transit planning,there is no such thing as an entire new freeway to serve as a "reliever route." Why would you do that, when studies have shown that a re-engineering of the existing  freeway interchanges would do much more to move traffic through?

Especially when they argue that the Trinity Tollway will relieve congestion even after the mixmaster has been fixed, there is a simple test for that: every time they call the Trinity Tollway a reliever route, ask them what traffic specifically it will relieve. What cars and trucks will come off which freeway to use the tolled river route instead? I know, because I have asked this question many times, that they can't answer it, so they won't answer it. But it's THE question. What does the so-called reliever route relieve?

 And don't just say, "Traffic." What traffic? 

JimS
JimS

Teaching tool. Take toy cars into the bathroom. Put them on the bottom of the tub. Put plug in drain. Turn on taps. Watch what happens to cars.

JimS
JimS

Excellent point. When they first hired Wilbur Smith engineers to project traffic for a simple parkway -- the thing we did vote for -- the projections came back showing that way too few cars would use that parkway to make tolling it a feasible financing scheme. The state and feds had already told them it was a low-traffic low-yield project that would not qualify for much in the way of public highway money. But Wilbur Smith said if you chopped off all the access in the middle of it and beefed it out to six or eight lanes, you might be able to attract enough through-traffic -- that is, non-Dallas traffic, vehicles seeking to get past the city -- to collect enough tolls to pay for some of it. Even with the chopped off access and the fatness and high speeds, it still saves intra-urban drivers only a few minutes and may cost up in the five bucks range, so none of them will use it. It might pay for truck traffic, however, which is what they're counting on.  And then even at that, it's a billion bucks in the hole. So we would have to come up with a billion dollars to pay for a truck route none of us will use that will cut us off from the river and just stack us to the roof with new air pollution numbers that we will have to pay for by curtailing development elsewhere. What a deal.

cp
cp

RW is not hard to find, you moron. He penned a story about VVC today. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

There has been a vision for Valley View for years, look where that wound up

Joe Tone
Joe Tone

We're still a little thinned out since RW's departure, ronburgandy. Give us a couple weeks to get staffed up and we'll never miss another Valley View story. I promise. Maybe.

mikeylikesit
mikeylikesit

Like building a 200x magnifying glass over a sensitive modern art sculpture garden?

dallasmay
dallasmay

You.... actually might be onto something....

Mmmm, Shower bath
Mmmm, Shower bath

"Seems to me if we could simply find out who these petulant five-year-olds are and have them committed to a mental institution this whole project would disappear overnight"

Exterminate the Park Cities. Then just keep going. Those who aren't guilty will get the memo and move out of the way. Those who are will show themselves. It's long past time.

Citizen Kim
Citizen Kim

You've hit it right on the head.  Nothing has been done, but money is being is being spent.  Where is that money going?  Consultants, planners, etc.  Its a perpetual money spigot for the guys with the connections. 

Brando
Brando

so are you referring to the bridge to nowhere, that is a suspension bridge with concrete piers?

Jim Schutze
Jim Schutze

Phelps, you give them too much credit. The toll road will diminish land values along the riverr, not enhance them. The contractors could make the same billion off fixing the mixmaster as building the toll road. This is about stupid. Their daddies wanted to build a canal. So they want to build a road. The plot doesn't thicken. The blood thins.

Jared Heath
Jared Heath

it relieves the rich folks who will be able to pay to drive on it from sitting in the traffic.

iamspecial
iamspecial

Maybe what they mean by "reliever" route is a place that one may go to "RELIEVE" one's self while heading to their final destination. I know I hate it when i'm cruising down the lanes and, I, all of a sudden have to take a whizz. What better place then the Trinity to do that in!

Tom L
Tom L

I've always wondered why, during the last vote we had on the subject, no one made a commercial showing exactly this.

Chicken Shack ain't for adults
Chicken Shack ain't for adults

It is a CABLE STAYED bridge with concrete piers!  And speaking of that bridge, went over it last night into OC from River Front Blvd and the construction on this thing is horrendous.  None of the railings line up that line the actual steel cable stayed portion.  Crappy contractors.  And to think of what they did with the Golden Gate and the Brooklyn years ago.

cp
cp

No he is referring to the "project", toward which a half million dollars was thrown to build a scale model that is housed at the Trinity Trust. And the point of that was because someone told Gail Thomas that no one (rich old money Park Cities people) would ever give them (The Trinity Trust and the City of Dallas) money as long as they didn't have something to show..... nevermind the 12 preceding years of glossy presentations and 3D "flyovers" and shit, no they needed an actual scale model. 

And the money's just rolled in since then....

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

JS - you should know how this works. Everything in Dallas that uses public money is a real estate deal. But if the real estate deal doesn't work (and the developers know it's not going to work well before they start digging), it turns into a construction company profit deal. Just look at Reunion, Victory, Ballpark at Arlington for examples. What do you think the ROI to the taxpayers are on those projects?

Kpryan
Kpryan

Exactly!

And, after they install a couple more 'reliever routes' they will turn ALL 'free'ways into toll roads; with the higher quality (newer reliever routes) costing 50 - 80% more than the old dilapidated freeways (now tollroutes) so again the rich will drive (or their driver's will drive and they'll be in the rear seat) on the more expensive road ... until they get the city or county or state to allow tolls to be subsidized by being Tax Write Offs!  

So in the end they will be driving for free on the new fancy reliever routes and the rest of the beer swillers will be navigating their jalopies btwn the potholes and ruts and paying extra for the priviledge.

lorlee
lorlee

The one brochure we opponents did in the first election  -- did just that.  Cars under water with fish swimming by.  We came within a percent of defeating this whole thing on just one brochure and common sense at the debates.  We even won the early vote but lots of walking around money appeared on election day.   So we have wasted 14 years, untold millions and tons of political capital on what we called then a "boondoggle" and to this day it remains so.  (I have emailed Jim a copy)   

dallasmay
dallasmay

Oh! You mean Halff and Nathan Niemeier and Associates.

Phelps
Phelps

Right.  The question is, who would be the contractors on the state project, who would be the contractors on the river boondoggle, and which pockets would the various contractors be lining?

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