- Associated Press - Thursday, November 20, 2014

DALLAS (AP) - The Dallas mayor has announced a six-person expert panel to make recommendations about the proposed Trinity River toll road.

Mayor Mike Rawlings said the six urban planners and transportation experts will convene in Dallas next month to discuss the nine-mile road.

Supporters of the project say the road is needed to relieve traffic on highways and streets near the downtown area.

Opponents say the estimated $1.5 billion project is too expensive. Some have suggested that the road’s six-lane design is too big.

If the panel suggests significant changes to the road’s design, the city may have to reject the recommendations or delay the federal approvals it’s seeking, The Dallas Morning News (https://bit.ly/1xGeibD ) reported.

“It would cause problems, generally speaking,” said spokesman Jim Frisinger of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “Any major design changes could seriously impact the project approval schedule.”

The panel’s recommendations could also affect the project’s financing if members say the toll road’s design needs to be scaled back. The expected toll revenue meant to fund the project would likely decrease.

The North Texas Tollway Authority is already estimating that it won’t be able to borrow enough against tolls generated from the larger design to cover all construction costs.

“We think there’s going to be a significant gap in funding,” said Michael Rey, the authority’s spokesman.


Information from: The Dallas Morning News, https://www.dallasnews.com

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