After a long discussion during a Dallas City Council briefing this morning about a proposal to formally adopt a resolution that would reject the council’s support of the so-called Trinity River Parkway Alternative 3C alignment, the council is poised to vote next week to effectively kill the Trinity River Toll Road.
The morning’s discussion ended with Mayor Mike Rawlings telling the council that he will join his colleagues who are voting to adopt the resolution to reject Alternative 3C. That vote would mean that the council would notify its partner agencies in the toll road project, including the North Texas Tollway Authority and the North Texas Council of Governments, that it will not pursue the construction of the Trinity Parkway and is instead moving forward with the planning of the Trinity River Project according to the parkway-less federally approved plans for the floodway.
Most of the council members speaking at this morning’s briefing seemed poised to reject 3C. The most staunch defender of the project, however, was southeast Dallas council member Ricky Callahan, who accused fellow council members of “robbing the future of the people that I’ve been entrusted to represent” by rejecting the toll road.
But Callahan’s colleagues appeared resigned to the fact that the road is too big, too expensive, and too ineffective to provide the mobility and economic development benefits that were long promised along with it. Furthermore, the council appeared ready to place the issue of the toll road behind them and remain focused on recreational improvements in the Trinity River floodway. Assurances were also made to remain vigilant with regards to bettering mobility and growth in southern Dallas through more effective and less destructive methods than building a massive toll road through the Trinity floodway.
“It’s a road without a purpose,” Oak Cliff representative Scott Griggs said. “It is time to put it out of misery.”
When Griggs said that he hoped that next week’s vote would be nearly unanimous, he was interrupted by Callahan, who said he would still support the toll road.
“I just learned that we are not going to be unanimous,” Griggs said, “but I hope we can have a super majority.”
As difficult as it may be to believe, after decades of contentious debate and years of conflicting reports, suspicion, and vicious insinuations and accusations swirling around the issue of the road — not to mention a city-wide referendum, it may be likely that a supermajority of the council will vote to kill the road next week. Even the mayor, who has long defended the road and raised funds to hire a team of star urban planners to re-design the roadway plans, seemed ready to finally put the issue to bed.
“I don’t think the city wants that at this point,” Rawlings said.