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Fort Worth mayor urges voters to support bond issue

FORT WORTH -- Mayor Mike Moncrief made a personal pitch for the city's $150 million bond election Friday afternoon, standing at a congested intersection that would be improved if the proposition passes.

The election is Saturday. Polling locations are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters will not only decide on the street money but also choose council and school board members across the county.

Traffic at North Beach Street and Shiver Road in north Fort Worth was already backed up for half a block at 3 p.m., and grinding gears interrupted Moncrief's pitch.

"The intersection behind me is obviously a very dangerous place to be, especially when you can look down the road and see an elementary school," Moncrief said.

It was an unusual move, but it's been an unusual bond election. Residents in north Fort Worth have been pleading with the city to widen roads in their area, where thousands of new homes have been built along two-lane country roads.

But the election also includes $10 million to build bridges for the Trinity Uptown project, an ambitious plan to divert the Trinity River and attract development to the near north side of Fort Worth.

Neighborhood groups said the city should address existing street needs before taking care of the long-range Trinity plan.

They asked the City Council to remove the bridges from the program or split the election into two propositions, allowing a separate vote on the bridges. The council refused.

E-mails were circulating Friday accusing the city of building "bridges to nowhere" and being dishonest about the bond election.

Moncrief retorted, "I think this process has been very transparent. ... We didn't try to sneak anything in."

If the bond election fails, he said, "The $150 million we're talking about today is going to cost $300 million."

He said the bridge spending would leverage $50 million in state and federal funding.

It's also cheaper to build the new bridges before the Trinity River is diverted, he said.

Voters will also decide several municipal and school board elections in Tarrant County. Among the key races:

Fort Worth school board: Three candidates are running to replace William Koehler as president of the Fort Worth school board.

Mansfield mayor: Two candidates are vying to succeed Barton Scott, who resigned in January.

Grapevine City Council: Four candidates are vying for a rare open seat.

Keller City Council: There are three contested seats.

Southlake: Voters will be asked whether the city’s firefighters and police officers should be added to the state’s civil service system.

Election Day

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Tarrant County. Voting locations are listed on pages 10-11B. They can also be found at www.star-telegram.com/localelections or www.tarrantcounty.com/evote

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