Mayor Mike Rawlings Wants to Make This Clear: "Right Now, I'm a Toll Road Guy"
Mayor Mike Rawlings was a bit late for his 9 a.m. speech at this morning's "Building South" presentation at the Oak Cliff Chamber. I knew it was Mayor Mike because OC Chamber director Bob Stimson, waffling for time, kept saying things like "I was told if I started and talked real slow, the mayor would show up from around the corner."
No one appeared, so Stimson hemmed and hawed for a few more minutes, more slowly this time.
"Somebody look over there and tell me if the mayor's standing there yet. No?" Stimson paused. "Does anybody know a song?"
By the grace of God, this was the moment Rawlings stepped from the elevator into the Orion Ballroom.
After paying subtle homage to his hosts ("I feel like I'm touring the Vatican and showing the Pope around his home."), Rawlings referenced the bovine blockage that turned Interstate 35 into a parking lot this morning and expressed relief that he didn't get caught in it.
But, never one to pass up a teachable moment, Rawlings told the audience that the mishap and ensuing chaos was "a symbolic metaphor" for the state of transportation in southern Dallas.
"When 30 cows can block (traffic) in both directions, it shows me we need to do something," Rawlings said.
Something, in this case, is a toll road running alongside the Trinity River, which, despite Michael Lindenburger's blog post yesterday and story in this morning's paper, he is totally behind.
"It's tough for a writer to get what happened," Rawlings said, which sure seemed like an elaborate way of calling Lindenburger, the News' veteran transportation reporter, a little ... slow.
Yeah, Rawlings said, Council members Angela Hunt, Scott Griggs and Sandy Greyson provided him with numbers purporting to show that scuttling the toll road in favor of Project Pegasus would cost less and be more effective. But "I have not had those numbers verified."
It was not said but seemed to be implied that Rawlings expects the numbers to come out in the toll road's favor.
"It is the one way I think we get off the dime" and connect the north and the south.
"Right now, I'm a toll road guy."