I went to the last-minute Trinity press conference at City Hall Monday morning. The purpose of the event seemed to be to put a positive spin on some very negative recent developments, namely, that our levees didn’t pass inspection and that the toll road will be delayed at least another 20 months.
Of course, that means our lakes with sailboats and other major components of the Trinity Corridor Project will also be delayed because everything depends on the location of the toll road within the levees. The city plans to initiate a two-year study to identify all the levee problems and also the solutions. The study will cost $29 million.
In these horrible budget times, where will the money come from? Apparently from the 2006 bond program. Money that was to be spent for certain flood control projects identified in the bond program will be shifted or "reprogrammed" to the levee study. The projects that will lose funding weren’t identified and the bonds haven’t been sold yet. No information was forthcoming as to when those bonds might be sold.
While the study will cost $29 million, it was anybody’s guess what the solutions will cost. Estimates of $250 million and up were floating around the room. Also floating around the room was a rumor that the North Texas Tollway Authority is going to stop working on the Trinity toll road design because they can’t finish the design until they know about the levee fixes and also because they don’t have endless amounts of money to spend on this road.