North Texas Could Benefit From Federal Infrastructure Deal – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth


North Texas is expected to benefit from the large federal infrastructure plan tentatively agreed to in Washington, a leading transportation planner said.

But a critic of past deals said he was worried about the risks of waste and delays.

President Joe Biden will hit the road Tuesday promoting the $ 973 billion plan to improve transit and broadband and fix aging roads and bridges.

North Texas has outdated facilities awaiting replacement, according to Michael Morris, director of transportation for the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

“We’re excited to know where this is heading,” Morris said. “All parties are desperate to come to a conclusion. No matter where you are on the political spectrum, everyone is saying, “Look, our infrastructure is aging. This time we have to do something. And I think that lends itself very well to the initiatives we’ve had in the Dallas Fort Worth area.

As examples, he mentioned proposals to remove the I-345 raised bridge that separates downtown from Deep Ellum and rebuild the I-30 canyon that separates downtown and the Cedars district.

Morris said the Biden administration’s transportation philosophy supports these projects.

“If we’re going to build transportation, why can we build transportation that provides mobility, safety, rebuilds neighborhoods,” Morris said.

He doubts the city of Dallas will achieve its wish to resolve an entire $ 2 billion backlog of bad sidewalks.

“But I think the federal government is going to step in and say we need to invest in our neighborhoods, which includes sidewalks,” Morris said.

Broadband access for areas without it, transit improvements that could benefit DART rail, and the proposed high-speed train from Dallas to Houston could also benefit from the deal Washington is still in the process of. to conclude.

The Texas Central bullet train project was to be fully funded by private investment.

“I am personally skeptical of the ability of individuals to finance a high speed train. Rail is really expensive, ”said Philip K. Howard of the Campaign for the Common Good monitoring group.

Howard has raised concerns over long delays in producing the results as members of Congress haggle over the details.

“The domains are competing against each other and what happens is it slows it down because it becomes this haggling,” Howard said.

His organization supports the choice of projects as an independent commission.

“It would be a non-partisan group that would actually oversee the implementation, the authorization, the selection of projects and also the execution,” Howard said.

Morris said the North Central Texas Council of Governments and the District Transportation Council are already providing a non-partisan review of projects for that metropolitan area, with projects out of the box.

“Our region is really ready to move forward,” Morris said.

But Morris is backing another of’s proposals to cut red tape and delays.

“Not to get rid of the environmental review, but to have clear lines of authority so that you don’t spend 20,000 pages reviewing a project that everyone knows has no environmental impact.” Howard said.

The rules of the game remain on the line as Congress debates the infrastructure plan.

President Biden said it would create millions of jobs. He will travel to Wisconsin on Tuesday to promote the tentative deal.

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