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January 16, 2013

Arlington's Victor Vandergriff steps down from NTTA board

Victorvandergriff@gdickson

12:25 a.m. update: Here's a link to an updated version of the story with more details about Vandergriff's potential interest  in the job of Arlington mayor, as it appears in the Thursday Star-Telegram edition.

Arlington businessman Victor Vandergriff announced Wednesday that he is leaving the North Texas Tollway Authority board, a position he has held since 2007.

Vandergriff was chairman of the board in 2010 and 2011, taking over from predecessor Paul Wageman of Plano, who guided the agency through tremendous growth but was sometimes criticized for aggressive management.

The decision takes effect at the end of the month, a tollway official said.

Vandergriff attempted to unify the board, but was unable to pass through sweeping changes on the tollway authority's reliance on a small number of legal, engineering and other professional firms to do virtually all of its day-to-day work. So he stepped down as chairman and was replaced by former Fort Worth Mayor Kenneth Barr, the current chairman.

Still, Vandergriff received a standing ovation from the tollway board during a meeting Wednesday in Plano.

Vandergriff was a vocal member of the board when key projects were delivered, including the Sam Rayburn Tollway in Denton and Collin counties, and the western extension of the President George Bush Turnpike in Grand Prairie and Irving (a key route to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington).

“We cannot thank Victor enough for the countless hours he has dedicated to working on NTTA projects that increase mobility for North Texas drivers,” Barr said in a statement.

He also oversaw the conversion of the region's tollways to an all-electronic form of collection - essentially doing away with the toll booths - and the beginning of construction on the 28-mile Chisholm Trail Parkway project from Interstate 30 near downtown Fort Worth to U.s. 67 in Cleburne.

Chisholm Trail Parkway is scheduled for completion in 2014.

More recently, Vandergriff was trying to secure construction of the Texas 360 extension south of Arlington-Mansfield to U.S. 287.

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