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September 22, 2010

Vandergriff elected tollway authority chairman

Victorvandergriff Victor Vandergriff has just been elected chairman of the North Texas Tollway Authority. The Arlington businessman is the first Tarrant County resident to take the helm of the agency, which was created in 1997.

Vandergriff succeeds Paul Wageman of Plano, the hard-driving leader who in recent years fought to keep the agency's authority to build toll roads in the region. Wageman, who is retiring from the public tollway board after 10 years, gave the tollway authority credibility at a time when many in state and local government wanted to instead see privately-funded investors build toll roads.

Those battles -- particularly the scuffle over Texas 121 toll road, now known as Sam Rayburn Tollway in Coppell, Lewisville and Carrollton -- frayed relationships between tollway officials and their counterparts in city, county and state government. And it will be up to Vandergriff and the other eight NTTA board members to mend fences over the next few years.

Vandergriff also has said he wants to bring a new leadership style to the tollway authority, which has been criticized for relying too heavily upon a small number of well-plugged engineering and consulting firms to handle most of its work.

"I think there are some concerns about the board's transparency, openness and inclusiveness," Vandergriff said. "I think I can allay those concerns."

Lots of huge projects are on the drawing board as well. First on the list is the planned construction of the Southwest Parkway/Chisholm Trail project, a 28-mile toll road from near downtown Fort Worth to Cleburne that is scheduled to be in full-blown construction by early 2011.

Vandergriff was elected unanimously Wednesday during a tollway board meeting in Plano. Board member Dave Denison of Denton County was unanimously chosen vice chair.Tolltag

Although Vandergriff is the first Tarrant County resident to lead NTTA, the agency's predecessor organization, the Texas Turnpike Authority, had several Fort Worth-area leaders. Among them was Dee Kelly of Fort Worth, who as chairman was heralded for overseeing the early payment of bonds for the old Dallas-Fort Worth Tunrpike, which in 1977 was converted into a free road. It's now part of Interstate 30.

Vandergriff, a lawyer and businessman, is also chairman of Arlington's Planning and Zoning Commission and the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. He was formerly vice president of VT Inc. and Automotive Investment Group, the largest private retail automotive group in the U.S.

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Comments

Monroe White

Brilliantly stupid idea! Put him in charge of the tollways so he can make even more money selling even more roads for even more of his cars to drive on, while he continues to be one of the most vocal opponents of public transportation in Arlington! Does no one else see the conflict of interest in a car salesman selling toll roads while he opposes public transportation?

K

I don't want public transportation in Arlington anymore than I wanted the Cowboy stadium here!!!!!!

Jason Jacobs

Watch your mouth Victor and his family have done a great many deeds for the city of Arlington and you should respect him. You have only one reason to dislike him and that is because he is simply been more successful in life than you!

brian

i avoid toll roadswhen possible.i irecieved a bill that cost more to send than the toll. i paid .then they forgot to mark it paid and sent another.i had to call the toll people and said i was right,they made a mistake.i can not not be the only person this happened to.toll roads should be removed like his father believes after it is paid for like i 30in arlington,if allowed at all . i say no to toll roads.

Joe

Yes, Victor and his wonderful family. How many of them have been to Federal Prison already?

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