Sunday, May 20, 2007

State's actions affecting commuters

By GORDON DICKSON - Star-Telegram staff writer - Fri, May. 18, 2007
How are the state's actions affecting commuters? The Legislature is wrapping up its 2007 session, and the House passed a compromise bill Thursday that would put the brakes on some future toll road projects but allow others. The Senate will be asked to give final approval today.

Want examples of what you'll see on the street? This guide uses a thumbs up to show projects moving forward, thumbs down to show projects in trouble and fingers crossed to show projects somewhere in between.

1. Grapevine funnel

Expansion of Texas 114/121 in Grapevine is funded and scheduled to start in 2008. It's not included in the state's toll road moratorium.

2. Regional rail

A proposed half-cent sales tax hardly got a hearing. It's a setback for cities that don't belong to the T. Fort Worth and Grapevine may have Cotton Belt service to D/FW Airport by 2012, but others such as Arlington may wait.

3. North Tarrant Express

Managed toll lanes on Airport Freeway, Northeast Loop 820 and Interstate 35W aren't part of the two-year moratorium. But the project still isn't environmentally cleared and is only partially funded. A private partner is needed.

4. Texas 161

The long-awaited alternative to Texas 360 is under construction but may get caught in the same political dispute as Texas 121 in Denton and Collin counties. The question will be: Should a private company, or the North Texas Tollway Authority, be in charge of this road?

5. Southwest Parkway

This project was never in question, but people often ask about it. Ground should break before the end of the year. The North Texas Tollway Authority is the lead agency.

Trans-Texas Corridor (not shown)

Consider it on the back burner. It will be delayed at least two years by the moratorium. By then, proponent Gov. Rick Perry will be near the end of his term.
Gordon Dickson, 817-685-3816

Read more See map of roads affected in NCTexas

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