Friday, March 24, 2017

Looking For What Fort Worth's Stalled Boondoggle Needs To Find

I saw what you see here this morning in the Seattle Times. Another instance of something I read in a west coast online news source I would not be expecting to be reading in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about something going on in Fort Worth and the county of Tarrant, in which Fort Worth is located.

In the $225 million more needed to build light rail across I-90 bridge article there were a couple bits info of the sort one would not be reading about Fort Worth's bizarre Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, affectionately known as America's Biggest Boondoggle.

Five paragraphs from the Seattle Times article....

The cost to build light rail on Interstate 90 between Seattle and Bellevue has zoomed $225 million higher than Sound Transit once estimated, now that final engineering work has revealed the challenge of retrofitting the roadway.

Transit-board members voted unanimously to approve a contract increase Thursday afternoon with construction group Kiewit-Hoffman.

The additional money would come out of contingency funds for the Eastside line, without causing delays or a tax increase.

The vote raises the contract amount to $712 million for 7 miles of work, from the International District/Chinatown Station to South Bellevue. It’s a crucial phase in creating a $3.7 billion East Link corridor to downtown Bellevue and Overlake, where train service is scheduled to begin in 2023.

The job includes building the world’s only trackway on a floating bridge. The roadway moves with Lake Washington’s water level and must be kept buoyant despite the weight of tracks, ties and trains to be placed in the existing express lanes.

First off, let's talk about the transparency inherent in the above information. Fort Worth's pitiful Trinity River Vision (short version of the ever changing project name) has had a mysterious malady cause the cessation of construction of the Boondoggle's three simple bridges being built over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island. The bridge construction halt has gone on for over a year now.

The Boondoggle's boondogglers have not shared with the public why their bridge construction area has become a construction ghost town. And due to the fact that Fort Worth does not have a real newspaper engaging in this practice called investigative journalism, no one knows what has actually gone wrong with the Ghost Bridges.

Unlike the Sound Transit Light Rail project, Fort Worth's embarrassing boondoggle has never been funded in the way most public works projects are funded. Voters in the Sound Transit area have approved multiple funding measures over the years. Voters in Fort Worth have never been allowed to vote for what has become a boondoggly mess directed by a local  politician's unqualified son.

The Sound Transit project design has built in contingency funding to cover unforeseen cost increases.
No one knows how much extra funding will be needed if Fort Worth's cloudy vision ever becomes something someone can see. For instance, the diversion dam, which will direct flood waters into the ditch which may be dug under those three stalled bridges, has not been designed and engineered, yet. Who knows how much such a thing will cost?

In one of the above paragraphs from the Seattle Times article mention is made of the fact that the $3.7 billion East Link from downtown Seattle to Bellevue will begin train service in 2023.

In a Star-Telegram propaganda piece about America's Biggest Boondoggle's stalled bridges J.D. Granger was quoted as saying, "the project's infrastructure should be completed by 2023". No one knows what J.D. means by infrastructure.

I am no longer living in the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle zone, so my mailbox no longer sees the bizarre quarterly Trinity River Vision Authority Updates.  Currently I assume the Summer Update has arrived in people's mailboxes and that it is a slick full color propaganda production touting all the floating on the river music events upcoming, along with other bits of fluffy nonsense, with no mention made of the stalled bridges or any of the other myriad problems.

The Trinity River Vision Boondoggle has never had a project timeline. Periodically the propaganda will tout something as having a timeline, such as having a big bang TNT ceremony for the start of construction of one of those bridges, with a  four year project timeline, to build a simple bridge over dry land. Now stalled for over a year.

Public works projects in modern parts of America have project timelines, and full transparency regarding the progress of the project.

For instance, below is a simple graphic from the WSDOT, via the Seattle Times. Have you seen anything similar from America's Biggest Boondoggle? Anything even this simple?

The Trinity River Central City Uptown  Panther Island District Vision can not produce a map showing what is under construction.

I suppose a map could be produced showing what has been constructed, and then gone out of business, like the highly touted Cowtown Wakepark.

I guess a project graphic map could show where the Boondoggle has produced an embarrassing water venue with an imaginary pavilion sitting on an imaginary island, with really cool concrete enclosed outhouses with outdoor showers to wash off the dirty river water when one finishes a Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Float....

1 comment:

Steve A said...

In other news, in Seattle's own boondoggle, the tunnel project, Bertha is FINALLY about to break through to its exit. Apparently, that project will eventually get finished, unlike the Fort Worth TRWD one. The Seattle boondoggle appears it will get done in 2019, ten years after approval and four years after the original scheduled completion. $223M over budget.