Reporting Joel Thomas
FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – First, the board of Fort Worth’s Transportation Authority, or T, was years behind on plans to construct a commuter rail line from south Fort Worth to DFW Airport.
Then, a CBS 11 I-Team investigation uncovered tens of thousands of dollars in questionable travel expenses at ski lodges and fancy hotels.
The Fort Worth City Council replaced all eight of its board members, transforming the complexion of the nine member board.
After they were sworn in Wednesday, Mayor Betsy Price told the new board she didn’t want a repeat of the past.
“Working on public transportation isn’t about going to social events or gathering with friends,” Price told the board. “Its not a party. For us, its about getting results.”
The new board will now rush to meet a mid-March deadline to apply for a half billion dollars in federal grant money for the project or lose out on the money.
And Mayor Price warned the new board members, failure is not an option.
“We’re not interested in excuses. We’re interested in solutions and opportunities to succeed,” Price said. “It’s a critical cross road we find ourselves at.”
Council members hope the drastic change in the board will steer The T in a new direction.
The T is now expected to quickly grow beyond providing city bus service.
City council members will require the T board to report directly to the city about progress on commuter rail and about how money is spent.
“They’re working for the citizens we represent,” said Councilman Jungus Jordan who often represents the city for regional transportation issues. “And it’s a new moment going forward to implement the vision. And doing so, we want to make sure it’s transparent.”
The council’s message was loud and clear for the new board members.
“This board needs to work with and stay in close communication with the city council,” said new board member Carter Burdette, who is also a former Fort Worth City Council member. “And I’m sure we will all do that because we want you in the soup with us.”
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