Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Panther Island Board Wants No Feasibility Study Of Fort Worth's Embarrassing Boondoggle

Yesterday the Fort Worth Star-Telegram had what seemed to me to be a rather bizarre editorial about the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision Boondoggle.

As you can see, via the above screen cap, the editorial was titled Panther Island board gambles by turning down federal study money. Will it pay off?

I did not know there was an entity called the Panther Island board.

Let's take a look at this editorial and see if we can make any sense of it...

The first three paragraphs---

Imagine that you’re trying to persuade your uncle to invest in a major project that you’ve been working on for nearly two decades.

And suppose your uncle — let’s call him Sam — wants a detailed study of your idea before fully committing to invest. The study will be expensive, but just a fraction of the total you’re seeking, and he’ll pay half the cost of the review if you match it.

Worth it? Apparently not to the board overseeing Fort Worth’s Panther Island flood-control project.

Okay, hasn't this feasibility study issue come up before? Wasn't there a bit of a scandal when it was learned that this necessary step had not been taken, due to Kay Granger thinking she could ramrod this project through committee hearings and thus get the needed funding. And didn't some opine that the reason there had been no feasibility study was because there really was no way to make a case that this was a vitally needed flood control project, where there had been no flooding in well over half a century? And that any sort of feasibility study would reveal that the Trinity River Vision was actually an economic development scheme which would benefit multiple Fort Worth natives, including Kay Granger.

Continuing on with the editorial---

The consultant that the Trinity River Vision Authority board hired to coordinate the project, Mark Mazzanti, recommended that the panel ignore the $1.5 million offer from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a feasibility study. The goal is for the corps to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to dig a bypass channel for the river, eliminating the risk of a disastrous flood and creating an island of prime real estate with business and recreational opportunities.

But local officials have always insisted that an economic impact study isn’t necessary because the flood-control imperative is clear and Congress has signed off on the project. And the entities who are partners on the project have already been squabbling over more local spending, so the $1.5 million to match the Corps funding is significant, especially during a recession.

Mazzanti explained Friday that, in essence, the request for the study is odd because it’s out of the usual order of business for a Corps project. A feasibility study usually precedes congressional authorization of a project.

I thought this Mazzanti guy was hired to replace Kay Granger's hapless son because Mazzanti was a retired Army Corps of Engineers person who would be able to unravel the mess that the Trinity River Vision had become. And it has long been known that there should have been a feasibility study. Wasn't that part of what came out of the Riveron Review which Fort Worth's mayor, Betsy Price, initiated when she became frustrated by the slow motion progress of what had become an embarrassing Boondoggle?

Again this editorial repeats the nonsense that this project eliminates the risk of a disastrous flood and that no study is needed because the flood-control imperative is clear.

 As we have already said, over and over again, the area in question has not flooded in well over a half a century due to flood control measures already in place, in the form of levees the Army Corps of Engineers built back in the 1950s.

And if there really was a risk of a disastrous flood, with the flood-control imperative clear, then why has this project been going on for two decades, with that supposedly vitally needed flood control no where near being a reality?

And then there is this paragraph---

Mazzanti and the board have a point. The trouble is, who can say at this point what the strategy is to finally get the river channel dug? What happens if the waiting game stretches on? And might the decision to decline the study read as a sign that local project leaders fear it would reflect poorly on the economic need or environmental impact of the proposal?

Uh, it seems sort of obvious that the reason there has been no feasibility study done is because a legitimate study would show there is no vitally needed flood control element, and that the flood control element was just a scheme to wrap an inept economic development scheme around.

The editorial continues on with more illogical nonsense, ending with a one sentence paragraph which actually makes sense---

But Fort Worth will have to wait still longer for leaders from City Hall to the regional water authority to Washington to figure out a way out of this mess.

Now that is a rare instance of accurately describing the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision Boondoggle by acknowledging it is a mess.

With no end in sight...

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