TxDOT Calls BS on its Own Figures Showing Benefits of Project Pegasus

Trinity River Toll Road.jpg

Last week, when Mayor Mike Rawlings announced he had hedged his support for the Trinity toll road after receiving additional data, it seemed like a victory for City Council members Scott Griggs, Angela Hunt, and Sandy Greyson, the project's opponents.

The figures Griggs rustled up from the Texas Department of Transportation purported to show that Project Pegasus -- a reworking of the Interstate 30 and I-35 interchange downtown that has since been excluded from the North Central Texas Council of Governments' transportation planning -- would cost less and provide more traffic relief than the toll road.

Simple enough. Figures don't lie, right?

But then, when Mayor Mike talked in Oak Cliff a couple of days later, he said he has not "verified" those numbers.

Those numbers show that the main portion of Project Pegasus -- one stretch is already being built as the $700 million Horseshoe Project -- would provide additional capacity of 290,000 cars per day by 2026 at a cost of about $1 billion. That's compared with $1.4 billion or more for the toll road, which will add maybe a third as much additional capacity.

DMN transportation writer Michael Lindenberger reported getting similar data from TxDOT.

Verifying the information would seem to be a fairly straightforward exercise of making a phone call to TxDOT's district engineer, Bill Hale, who provided the numbers to Griggs and company three weeks ago.

Except that, as Rawlings told Lindenberger last week, "I think Bill doesn't support those numbers."

Similarly, TxDOT disowned the figures it gave to Lindenberger.

So if Hale and TxDOT don't support the numbers now, why were they passing them around earlier this month? A civil engineer's idea of a practical joke?

The traffic projections being touted by Griggs, Hunt, and Greyson are old, said TxDOT spokesman Mark Pettitt, and calculated before the Horseshoe Project was started and the rest of Project Pegasus was discarded.

"It's just not even fair to use those numbers," Pettit said.

Which is why, within 30 days, TxDOT will provide Rawlings with sounder numbers.

So hold on. TxDOT has worked on this thing for how long and still needs 30 days to generate some very basic projections? And if it's true that the numbers are unusable after five years, then its projections are worthless.

What TxDOT's suspiciously abrupt retraction seems instead to indicate is that Hale's boss, or his boss's boss, or his boss's boss's politically connected ally, realized that the numbers Griggs and company were bandying about undermine the main rational for building the toll road.

Angela Hunt thinks so:

"It appears to me that TXDOT may be bowing to political pressure, given that they've backtracked on the information they provided to us and they repeatedly confirmed to us," Hunt said. "It's disappointing."

Here's betting the numbers TxDOT cooks up will show that the Trinity toll road is a well-conceived and cost-effective way to ease downtown traffic, at which point, if Lindenberger proves correct, Grigg's, Hunt's, and Greyson's credibility on the issue will be destroyed.

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17 comments
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Dalguy
Dalguy

Even if the Pegasus number goes up, it will be much less than the ultimate cost of the Flood Road whose $1.4 billion guestimate will end up north of $2 billion before the first truck rolls up from Mexico on it and don't even mention the additional cost to rebuild it after the first flood.  What are these guys smokin'?

Doug
Doug

Kind of reminded of the old saying that you can prove anything with numbers...it's just a matter of who's paying for the numbers, eh?  After all, the numbers prove the city's fancy hotel is a gold mine, no?

trannyntraining
trannyntraining

TxDOT uses the same manatees as 'Family Guy'. You gotta give em time. The manatees will work out those numbers....they just need to put together the right idea balls.

dallasmay
dallasmay

When is this guy up for re-election?

darrd2010
darrd2010

 Mayor Suhm? Oh no, she serves at the pleasure of the council until they get sick of her.

Paul
Paul

 Don't forget that she only has to keep 8 of the 15 happy ...

Bfichtenbaum
Bfichtenbaum

She's not the mayor, she's the city manager. You're awfully upset and accusatory for someone that doesn't even know who the Mayor is.

David G.
David G.

No, actually I'm sure he/she meant Mayor Suhm. 

Bob
Bob

Yes, but he does know where the power lies in Dallas, and it's not with the Mayor. Suhm hates the spotlight, but her complicity in these giveaways and big ticket projects will not escape increasing public scrutiny. Expect more articles and more questions about Ms. Suhm's enablement of the political machine.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Imaging all the migratory birds that will meet their demise at the treacherous blades of those windmills.....

http://www.wind-watch.org/news... 

Of course, there are other articles which state, worldwide, wind farms kill far fewer birds than glass buildings, or those spawn of satan....Cats. (I assume this means the four legged kind and not the kind found on Broadway stages).

LaLaLand
LaLaLand

Someone needs to do a FOIA request for all the emails about those numbers sent to Hunt, Griggs and Greyson.   I bet that those emails themselves will tell the story and point to the moment when TxDot buckled to political pressure.  it will be an interesting read.

RC
RC

Anyone can do it. Go for it

Assistant Editor
Assistant Editor

You messed that last paragraph up.  I've made the edit for you:Here's betting the numbersTxDOT cooks up will show that the Trinity toll road is a well-conceived andcost-effective way to ease downtown traffic, at which point, if Lindenbergerproves correct, Grigg's, Hunt's, and Greyson's credibility on the issue will bedestroyed confirmed.

Ass. Editor
Ass. Editor

the website doesn't allow strikethrough font.  

Replace the word "destroyed" with "confirmed"

Robbie Good
Robbie Good

There's no good reason an organization should come out against it's own numbers. There is clearly corruption going on...

darrd2010
darrd2010

This is a win win for Griggs, Hunt, and Greyson. Everyone knows that they would not go out on limb with shit information. They know how to 'dot the i's and cross the t's'  before moving forward. Dallas residents know that no matter how hard Mayor Suhm, Mike, the Dallas Citizens Council and their winged monkeys try to spin it, these three council members are right.

Daily Reader
Daily Reader

TxDot's reversal of opinion on their numbers doesn't do anything against the credibitlity of Griggs, Hunt and Greyson.  It makes TxDot look stupid and incompetent.  Messing with millions or billions of dollar's isn't something the pubic should take lightly. 

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