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If you use the word 'collapse,' public deserves full transparency, lawmakers say

Rep. Todd Hunter says he wants to expand the local delegation and get a full report from TxDOT on the new Harbor Bridge every two weeks.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Lawmakers want answers about why Corpus Christi now has a half-built, nearly billion dollar bridge that if completed runs the risk of "collapse."

"The word 'collapse' is not a good word," said Rep. Todd Hunter, a Republican who represents parts of Corpus Christi and Port Aransas. "The word 'collapse' means we need to really know about the public's safety. And that means transparency up front."

"Safety is our most important concern," added Corpus Christi Mayor Paulette Guajardo in a statement. "I will continue to demand answers, require greater transparency, and ask our state delegation the hard questions.

"I cannot underscore how important safety is to our residents. TxDOT must come up with solutions."

Hunter said he wants to expand the local delegation of lawmakers to include most of the surrounding counties. He says the delegation will get updates from TxDOT every two weeks on the new Harbor Bridge's status.

Local governments won't foot bill for cost overruns

The cost of the new Harbor Bridge has already ballooned from an estimated $800 million to $930 million and is more than two years behind schedule. However Hunter says local cities and counties won't have to pay for any future cost overruns related to these design issues.

Hunter says that's good news but the biggest thing we need now is information.

"We need a timeline, we need deadlines," Hunter said. "We have a letter that has concerns about the structure. The public has a right to know everything about public safety."

While TxDOT on Thursday gave its largest update on the project since it halted construction on July 15, developer Flatiron Dragados LLC still has not commented.

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