Monday, May 23, 2011

A Special Letter From My Good Friend Kay Granger Clearing Up The Trinity River Vision Lack Of Clarity

Ever since I became friends with J.D. Granger I've also become friends with J.D.'s mom, Kay.

Kay Granger is Fort Worth's Congresswoman, representing the Fort Worth Ruling Oligarchy in the House of Representatives.

Yesterday I got a letter from my good friend, Kay, clarifying some questions I had regarding funding issues regarding the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle.

Below is Kay's letter. And below that I continue with my pithy comments. If I can think of any....

May 20, 2011
Dear Friend,

Since coming to Congress I have worked on a prominent urban waterfront project called Trinity River Vision.  Recently, I have been asked questions about a funding issue regarding this project.  Please pass this on should you hear of anyone who needs clarification.

“The TRV Project has increased my water bill.”

Six years ago, the City of Fort Worth added a “Storm Water Fee” to the City water bill.  Not a single cent of that fee goes to the TRV project.  The fee is to make improvements to the drainage system throughout the entire city.

“How much money does the City of Fort Worth pay for the TRV Project?”

The City of Fort Worth committed $26.6 million to the Trinity River Vision project.  This amount has not changed since the start of this project – and is not expected to increase.  Of the City of Fort Worth’s $26.6 million contribution, $16 million has already been acquired through two bond elections.  The remaining amount committed by the City of Fort Worth has been budgeted within the city’s revenue fund, and does not compete with any street repairs or other initiatives.

“Is the TRV project funding Trolley Cars?”

Like the majority of Fort Worth’s inner city, the Trinity River Vision Uptown Plan has been designed with future mass transit in mind.  However, not a single dollar of the project cost is allocated to funding a trolley or street car line.

Trinity River Vision will bring 16,000 jobs to our community and add $1.1 billion to our tax base when it is completed.  It is important that you have all the facts.  As always, please continue to ask questions and I will make sure you have all the information.


Kay Granger


I found several things interesting in the letter from my friend, Kay.

Kay says, "Like the majority of Fort Worth’s inner city, the Trinity River Vision Uptown Plan has been designed with future mass transit in mind."

The majority of Fort Worth's inner city has been designed for something? Who knew? What a revelation. Who is it who designed Fort Worth's inner city with future mass transit in mind? And where can we see these things that have been designed?

Regarding funding for the TRV Boondoggle, Kay says, "Of the City of Fort Worth’s $26.6 million contribution, $16 million has already been acquired through two bond elections."


There have been bond elections relating to the TRV Boondoggle? The people of Fort Worth got to vote on this pet project of the Fort Worth Ruling Oligarchy? How did I miss two votes? I thought I paid fairly close attention to what goes on in these parts. How did I miss 2 bond elections which related to the TRV Boondoggle?

So, went to the go to person for such questions, Clyde Picht.

Mr. Picht told me, "There was $4.5 million in the 2004 bond program and $22.2 million in the 2008 bond program. In 2008, $12 million was for 7th St bridge and $10.2 million was for TRV bridges. Total cost of TRV expected to be $86 million with remainder from Federal grants. The 2004 TRV proposition is the one that proponents said indicated public support for the whole TRV project."

So. These were not actually votes on the TRV Boondoggle. And, a vote in 2004, on a bond program worth only $4.5 million, is the vote that TRVB proponents cite as indicating the Fort Worth public's support for the almost $1 billion Trinity River Vision Boondoggle?

Apparently I missed the connection between these two bond votes and the TRVB. I suspect I was not the only one who missed the connection, even if I am more dense than most.

My good friend Kay says since coming to Congress she has worked on a prominent urban waterfront project called Trinity River Vision.

Kay came to Congress in 1997. The Trinity River Vision did not exist in 1997. When it was born it was called something like Trinity Uptown. The vision came along sometime in the following century.

Is it Kay who started the Trinity Uptown/Trinity River Vision Boondoggle project? Started the project as soon as she got to Congress in 1997? And then, a couple years later, the project she had been working on, gets introduced to the Fort Worth public?

Was this Kay's master plan from the start? A designed to grow ever-bigger, massive, federally funded public works project to build a little lake, take down some perfectly good levees, build an un-needed flood diversion channel plus a wakeboard lake so the people of Fort Worth can finally take up wakeboarding.

And, most importantly, to give her unqualified son, J.D., a job managing Kay's public works project.

At one point in time, the vision included some canals and real cool designer bridges, which are now pedestrian bridges (by pedestrian I mean ordinary, not foot traffic only)?

Among the many things about the TRVB that has perplexed me is this. How is it that as the TRVB project grows more expensive it loses more and more of what was originally sold to the public as the Trinity River Vision?

Like those canals? And those cool designer bridges. Somehow, we went from something possibly unique, to the world's premiere wakeboard lake and 80,000 magic trees in Gateway Park designed to save Arlington from flooding. According to J.D.

It is all perplexing. Including this perplexing letter from my good friend, Kay.


Gail said...

I have a question for Mr. Picht.

What about the millions that the Tarrant Regional Water District has/is spending to buy up properties for the Trinity River Vision project, including the 5 or so properties acquired so far using eminent domain? How many millions is that? And are those millions included in the total that the city has spent so far? Where are those millions coming from? I have an idea, and it's called gas well revenue.

This property buying spree for the TRV was authorized by the state legislature in 2005. HB 2639, 2005 regular session, by Charlie Geren and Rick Perry signed it. It authorizes the TRWD to set up a non-profit corporation (the TRVB perhaps?) and buy properties through eminent domain if necessary for ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT purposes. They can even issue bonds through the corporation. I don't think bonds issued by a development corp require a public vote but I could be wrong. This appears to be the sole reason that the water district, which I thought dealt exclusively with water issues, is now in the economic development business.

Here's the bill analysis:

If Mr Picht doesn't know the details, maybe Jim Lane can answer. He's on the board.

Anonymous said...

The Star-Telegram is reporting on a Trinity River tubing and concert series called Rockin' the River. It is sponsered by your friends at the Trinity River Vision.