Friday, March 1, 2013

Why Do We Not Know How Much The Trinity River Vision Boondoggles Have Already Cost Us?

No, that is not an artist's rendering of what Pond Granger may look like in Fort Worth if the Trinity River Vision ever clears up and becomes anything anyone can see.

The body of water you are looking at in the picture is Lake Washington, in Washington. A natural lake that is not the result of a public works boondoggle run amok.

That is the 520 Floating Bridge you see crossing the lake. And in the foreground is one of the pontoons for the new 520 Floating Bridge, a $4.1 billion project that is currently the most expensive public works project in Washington.

Unlike Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision, which seems to have no timeline projection for a completed project, the new 520 Floating Bridge is scheduled to be floating vehicles in just a couple years.

Also, unlike Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision, the 520 Floating Bridge Project is subject to public scrutiny.

For example, the scrutiny provided by Seattle's KOMO TV News. Below is part of an article from KOMO News online titled 520 Bridge mistakes have already cost taxpayers $100M, that I ask that you peruse and ask yourself if you can imagine ever reading such an article in the corrupt Fort Worth Star-Telegram?

FW Weekly? Maybe.

But the Star-Telegram? Not a chance.

SEATTLE -- Washington's Department of Transportation may be admitting its mistakes with the 520 Bridge but it's you, the taxpayers, who will wind up paying for those mistakes.

The KOMO 4 Problem Solvers sued the state, and won, to get information about how much those mistakes will cost us. After digging into the public records, we've discovered the total is already well over $100 million.

"Clearly, this is beginning to spiral out of control," said Washington Policy Center's Vice President Paul Guppy, an organization that advocates for taxpayers on issues of public policy.

The numbers also surprise Eva Zemplenyi with the "No Tolls on I-90' group," 

"We feel that we have not been given the straight story," she said.

The new 520 bridge -- at a total anticipated cost of $4.1 billion dollars was already the most expensive public works project in the state. WSDOT gleefully pointed to cost-savings as contract bids came in low and federal grants saved other money. But most of those savings will never make it to taxpayers -- and you can blame it on the problems we first uncovered with the pontoons.

For months, a Problem Solver investigation has spotlighted problems with cracks and leaks in the massive floating concrete structures that will hold up the new bridge. But WSDOT refused to tell us how much repairing those pontoons will cost. Yesterday, out-going Secretary Paula Hammond reiterated the Agency's position, "we cannot and will not negotiate the financial settlement with the contractor in the media."

KOMO 4 News sued WSDOT for those documents and finally received them: Weekly Reports for all three current contracts involved in 520 construction. Two of them involve those troubled pontoons and are with prime contractor Kiewit.

As of last November: Projections for extra costs to build the pontoons in Aberdeen and to repair the pontoons out on Lake Washington hit a stunning $86.4 million dollars. 

When we added the projected extra costs for the 3rd contract with Eastside Corridor Construction which is connecting 520 to the eastside, as well as the extra costs the state's already agreed to pay it adds up to a shocking $153.8 million dollars. 

So, really, why have we here in Fort Worth not read any investigative journalism in the Star-Telegram asking critical questions about the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle?

I know I'd like to know how much is being spent on the liquor supply in J.D. Granger's office.

How much has been spent on junkets?

How much did the bizarre Cowtown Wakepark cost the Trinity River Vision?

How much was spent on the Woodshed Smokehouse?

How much money has been spent on signage?

What is going on with the world's first drive-in theater in decades? Is that drive-in theater part of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle?

When is the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's re-make of Gateway Park going to take place?

When is the un-needed flood diversion channel scheduled to be completed?

How much money has been spent, so far, on the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle?

If the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle is such a vitally important flood control and economic development project why is the project progressing at such a snail's pace?

How are the victims of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's eminent domain abuse doing?

And why has the Fort Worth Star-Telegram not devoted any ink to investigating how it was that the unqualified J.D Granger, son of Fort Worth Congresswoman, Kay Granger, was given the job of being in charge of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle?

1 comment:

John Austin Basham said...

Without fearing of being labeled a zealot I say, AMEN!