Don't miss the Fort Worth Weekly article, Unleashing a Flood of Questions. You know how we love questions.
This isn't a PR piece brought to you courtesy of the Trinity River Vision or the Tarrant Regional Water District or the Congresswoman's office. YOU can't afford to miss it. After all, it's YOUR $909 million. Every penny of it.
Projected costs for the project have ballooned to about $909 million. The economy is still in the Great Recession, and federal, state, and local governments are all facing severe budget shortfalls that will leave their mark for years to come. Congress has put a temporary ban on earmark bills, the strategy by which local project funding was routinely added to unrelated bills and that U.S. Rep. Kay Granger of Fort Worth used to get about $60 million for the TRV in the past. And the Corps, faced with continuing fallout from the Hurricane Katrina debacles in Louisiana and this year’s massive flooding along the Mississippi, is dealing with many projects much more critical than improvements in Fort Worth to a river section that hasn’t seen significant flooding in half a century.
The Trinity River Vision Authority is the governmental agency created specifically to oversee this massive project, but the officials on its governing board are appointed, not elected by the public.
WHO was appointed to head it? Oh, that's right, JD Granger, son of the Congresswoman.
The federal funding component of the TRV is now $487 million of the $909 million. That includes the Corps’ flood control work, along with contributions from federal transportation, economic development, housing, and environmental protection agencies.
In the convoluted world of Washington, as in Fort Worth, it is hard to get clear answers on where the Trinity River Vision stands. The Corps has ruled that the project is “technically sound and environmentally acceptable,” but the funding must be approved on a year-by-year basis. In the past five years, about $29 million has been appropriated for it. But that is nowhere near the Corps’ $466 million price tag to finish it.“I think this is becoming a bait-and-switch plan, something private businesses would be prosecuted for if they did it,” said Steve Hollern, a local accountant and former chair of the Tarrant County Republican Party. “What the TRV is doing is buying property, tearing down buildings, using eminent domain, and having very little chance of getting the federal funds they need to complete it.
Granger wholeheartedly disagreed. “I am not concerned about the federal funds drying up, because this is primarily a flood control water project, and those have been a top priority in Washington,” he said. “This is not a short-term solution to flooding issues on the Trinity River, but a long-term plan that solves a very real problem.”
There are a number of opponents to this project, but they are very much in the minority,” Granger said. “Most citizens of Fort Worth I talk to see value in this project. It will change this city in so many ways, all of them for the better.”
JD should get out more (we don't mean on 7th street). The minority is growing.