If a third vote was held today to approve/reject the Trinity Tollroad, it would go down to a smashing defeat, according to a new poll commissioned by the Dallas Morning News. More than 65 percent of Dallas residents who have an opinion about the Tollroad dislike it. Overall among those polled, 40 percent say they’re against it, 23 percent support it and 35 percent haven’t made up their minds.
And although the polling occurred prior to Mayor Mike Rawlings’ dream team of road designers recommending a kindler and gentler four-lane parkway as opposed to the six-lane, high-speed road federal officials say they’ll eventually build, the DMN’s Brandon Formby concluded that the poll results may not have been substantially different had residents been asked about the new plan, which was sent to city staff for study by the council last week.
No matter how you look at the poll numbers, support for the Tollroad is downright miniscule relative to the amount of money proposed to be spent on it (upwards of $1.3 billion) and the number of Dallas political bigwigs who still support it.
The DMN indicates more than 54 percent of those polled say the pricetag is their biggest turnoff when considering the Tollroad. In an interesting twist, only 4 percent of those polled say we should go ahead with the road simply because it has already been approved in two elections — interesting because so many of us have already voted on the Tollway twice, in 1998 and 2007.
It’s hard to comprehend how 35 percent of the polled residents still don’t have an opinion about the Tollroad, something that has devoured more media time than any other local political topic during the past 17 years. Some of the undecideds are probably new to the area, but a lot are probably confused by all of the political rope-a-doping that continues to be put out there.
With this many people actively disliking the Tollroad, it will be interesting to see how (or if) this single issue impacts the upcoming city council elections.
Most candidates’ position on the Tollroad (yay or nay) have been made clear in various forums, and it has become clear that the only way to truly kill the Tollroad once and for all is to elect a council majority willing to vote against it.
So will voters decide the Tollroad is THE significant issue in the election and vote according to the results of this DMN poll, or will the Tollroad be just one of many issues informing their vote?
We’ll find out May 9, following the election, and June 13, since at least a few of the races are bound to generate a runoffs. And don’t forget that early voting for the Council and DISD elections begins April 27 and runs through May 5 at these early voting locations.