Monday, October 22, 2007

Dallas Weighs Pros and Cons of Trinity Toll Road

Early voting for the November 6th election begins today. As the rest of us try to sift through the sixteen constitutional amendments up for statewide vote, Dallas County is weighing a highly contentious vote on whether to proceed with plans to build a tollway inside the Trinity River Corridor Project.

For those Dallasites still trying to make up their mind, today's Dallas Morning News has an archive of articles and opinion pieces, as well as an interactive map and video of the controversial project.

The toll road issue isn't black and white from a partisan perspective. Although Republicans, including Mayor Tom Leppert and City Councilman Ron Natinsky, are front and center in the "Vote No" campaign to defeat the ballot initiative and continue with the toll road, prominent Democrats have supported the project as well. Mayor Laura Miller supported a revised version of the plan. And Senator Royce West (D-Dallas) wrote an editorial for today's DMN supporting the tollway project, and asking voters to defeat the proposal.
Simply put, voting no on Proposition 1 means moving Dallas and the entire Dallas County region forward.

Spearheading support for the "Trinity Vote" side, which wants to see the toll road removed from the park plan, is Dallas City Councilwoman Angela Hunt. Former Democratic mayoral candidate Sam Coats campaigned on support for the referendum.

As grassroots efforts go, the referendum drive was historic. The petition to get the measure on the ballot was signed by 52,000 voters last spring. As Dallas Observer's Jim Schutze notes:

If the anti-toll road forces win on November 6, their victory will constitute the single biggest electoral victory of a grassroots coalition—and the single most devastating defeat of the old downtown power elite—that I have seen in my 30 years covering Dallas politics.

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