Plans for the Alternative 3C alignment of the Trinity Toll Road. The council voted to reject the plan today.

Trinity River

It’s Official: The Trinity Toll Road Is Dead

It's now time to move forward with building a park, conserving the Trinity watershed, and unleashing the Wild Dallas vision for promoting smarter city growth.

It’s done. After decades of debate, multiple referendums, millions of dollars spent on plans and campaigns, public relations blitzes, bitter debate, and suspicion, the Dallas City Council voted today to reject plans to build a toll road within the levees of the Trinity River.  The vote was 13 in favor of rejecting the so-called Alternative 3C alignment of the toll road, the engineering nomenclature for the design of a multi-lane high speed highway that was the only federally approved design of a plan once sold to voters as a low-impact parkway project. Council members Rickey Callahan and Casey Thomas were the only council members voting in favor of the road.

As with last week’s conversation about the referendum, the only outspoken council member in favor of the road was Callahan, the representative from southeast Dallas and Pleasant Grove, who urged his colleagues to come up with alternative plans for expanding mobility and access to his district. Some of Callahan’s colleagues, however, argued that it was more important to focus on bringing jobs to the southern sector than building more highways.

“There is not a toll road into Bishops Arts, but Bishop Arts is thriving,” Dwaine Caraway said. “There is not a freeway or toll way in [Lancaster Corridor] and Lancaster Corridor is beginning to thrive. The majority of constituents I represent are not as concerned about another toll way as they are about another Trinity Park.”

In what sounded like a last-ditch effort to find some way to save the road, Callahan asked City Attorney Larry Casto how the Council could reject Alternative 3C when there have been two public referendums — in 1998 and again in 2007 — that supported the road. Casto informed the Council that the language in both referendums did not lock the Council into a commitment to develop the road.

“Citizens have never said, ‘thou shall,’” Casto said. “That language is absent in two previous referendums.”

Ironically, the way the controversial 2007 referendum was worded, forcing voters to vote yes to reject the road as a strategy to obstruct the anti-road campaign, ensured that the referendum did not lock the Council into building the road.

Before the record vote, Councilman Philip Kingston spoke about the history of the Trinity River Project and the tendency among civic boosters to carry water for a project even after it evolved into a design that would have been detrimental to the city’s largest natural resource.

“Every now and then, people have bad ideas or an idea that morphs into something that people never wanted,” Kingston said. “It takes a long time for people to process those facts. We’ve wasted millions of dollars on plans. … The level of intellectual energy of some of the best leaders in town would not have been wasted for the last 10 years. What could have been still captivates me. But today is a wonderful day.”

At the end of the vote, Councilwoman Sandy Greyson congratulated former council member Angela Hunt, who led the 2007 anti-toll road referendum campaign and was instrumental in orchestrating the effort to finally vote to reject Alternative 3C.

“Here we are today, almost exactly 10 years later, and if this is anyone’s day, it is Angela Hunt’s day,” Greyson said to applause in the chamber.

As of this posting, the Council is now debating the legal language surrounding the creation of a Limited Government Corporation to take over development, operation, and maintenance of the proposed Trinity River park.


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  • OldLakeHighlander

    You can’t buy a better friend than Rickey or Casey.
    Ding, Dong, the Wicked Road is dead.

  • JohnyAlamo

    Finally, we can get on to the business of putting ugly apartments and chain resturants in the Trinity!

  • Here’s something that stood out for me. Before the vote, Councilman Dwaine Caraway made it clear that he was going to vote down 3C no matter how much backlash he gets. “I will not be subjected to any threats,” he said. He pointed out that he goes to sleep at 10:30, so if he doesn’t answer someone’s call, if he wakes up and finds a nasty text from that someone, he’s not going to be pleased.

    What the heck is going on here? Who is threatening the mayor pro tem?

    • dallasmay

      Are cell phone txt messages regarding city business public information request-able?

    • alexander troup

      Mayor Pro is a Wolf in the Chicken Coop….Cock a doodle do..

  • MattL1

    Dammit. All those years spent learning to juggle under overpasses just went down the tubes. Thanks Dallas City Council!

    But seriously, thanks Dallas City Council.

    Now on to what we ARE going to do with the space. I take it you all are covering the debate over the LGC contract.

    • Lolotehe

      We can still have those solar-powered water-taxis.

    • We’re working on LGC coverage. Yup.

    • Poetaster Dallas

      Geez. Pete Sessions. Then Leslie Brenner. Now the Trinity Toll road. What the eff.

      Mayor Mike’s the Captain of this BIG city,
      Hop aboard the sinking ship, the S.S. Trinity.
      AC as little buddy? Mrs. Howell, I asSuhm,
      Dressed in Neiman’s really does control the room
      With her mister. Thurston III’s way over there,
      Looking down the bodice of the chick with red hair.

      Ginger, we know, has been artistically enhanced.
      Go figure it’s why developers want in her pants.
      A river of love that needs no containment…
      Who wouldn’t enjoy the underpass entertainment?
      Poor Maryanne, a small park is all she requests.
      Get used to second girl, you ain’t got the breasts.

      And before we forget, that Wylie Professor,
      The man with solutions, the second guesser.
      Can he rescue the group? Can he be our savior?
      He’s really good at pointing out bad behavior.
      Not liked by some, and his anonymous soul
      Have placed limits on his ability to take control.

      Strange shipmates, those who started this -trip,
      Never asking can the Captain really steer this ship
      Through storm and strife and dangerous shoals,
      Ignoring the pressure of big money at the polls?
      It’s important, his creds, on this project to secure,
      So we all don’t end up on that three hour tour.

  • alexander troup

    Well it took maybe 25 years….does anything really matter the Billions spent on that since the mid 1980’s when the various groups came along and sold their promotion….Dallas a very selfish city this side of the Trinity, ….I am a Native of the place and have made it home for over 50 years….to make a great city, change it with real people not Bankers….