Politics & Government

Fort Worth lawmakers working to protect Trinity River Vision funding

Work on Trinity River Vision has been underway for years.
Work on Trinity River Vision has been underway for years. Star-Telegram

More than half a billion dollars for Fort Worth’s Trinity River Vision project — a more than decade-long premier proposal to transform the the near northside across the river from downtown — remains in a bill geared to fund water projects across the country.

Funding for the local flood control and economic development project was challenged this week as House members rushed to consider a $5 billion water projects bill and a separate must-pass spending bill needed to keep the government operating.

Democrats threatened to hold up the spending bill if funding to resolve the Flint, Mich., drinking water crisis wasn’t somehow provided. Republicans agreed to let Flint funding be considered in the water bill.

On Wednesday, Flint funding was added to the water bill, removing the major roadblock that could have prevented passage of the dual proposals.

U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth, said she is confident that full funding for the TRV will remain in the overall Water Resources Development Act — and that no amendments to cut or prevent that funding will be considered as debate on the overall bill continues.

The local funding appeared at risk earlier in the week because Rep. Pete DeFazio, D-Ore., was upset that a provision impacting a harbor maintenance trust fund was removed. So he asked for an amendment to cut the Army Corps of Engineers funding for the TRV because the project included recreation facilities.

Local House members U.S. Reps. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, and Granger, who has spearheaded the TRV program for more than a decade, spoke in support of the program.

“I represent Fort Worth, Texas, a city that has had devastating floods in its past,” Granger said on the House floor this week. “Fort Worth needs help to bring our river area up to standards to prevent flooding and prepare for development.”

Granger has been the leading booster for Trinity River Vision, a project that would divert the river and create an urban lake with a waterfront just north of downtown — one of the biggest public works projects ever to come to Fort Worth.

This $526 million of federal funds is a key part of fully funding and completing the project. Critics maintain this project is not about flood control, but about economic development.

Granger noted that the Corps of Engineers can’t pay for amenities such as water parks or soccer fields.

“As a former mayor, I can personally attest to how vital investing in and maintaining our water infrastructure and flood control is,” Granger said this week. “Over the past year, we have seen devastating floods throughout the country.

“It is more important than ever that we authorize critical flood control projects to protect our communities.”

This article includes information from the Star-Telegram archives.

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley