U.S. Rep. John Culberson and METRO Board Chairman Gilbert Garcia today announced an agreement paving the way for future transportation solutions to address the growing needs of the region and the nation’s fourth most populous city.
The agreement prioritizes the development of commuter rail for the US 90A/Southwest Rail Corridor (SWRC) and requires METRO to receive voter approval before expanding rail on either Richmond Avenue or Post Oak Boulevard. It also focuses on METRO’s efforts to purchase new buses, expand METRO Park & Ride and improve HOV lanes, further enhancing region mobility.
Garcia praised the announcement as historic. “It is time for something like this to happen because the needs of mobility are extraordinary. It crosses all political persuasions and it crosses all socio-economic lines.”
The agreement outlines several key provisions, including:
Support of a state governance bill with a regional focus
$190 million in Federal Transit Authority funding for future transit projects
Prioritization of 90A commuter rail
$587 million in matching transit credits
$300 million in federal funds over three years for buses, Park & Ride expansion and HOV improvements
METRO’s agreement to not oppose changes to federal or state law to memorialize the cooperative agreement
No rail on Richmond Avenue west of Shepherd Drive or on Post Oak Boulevard north of Richmond unless voters approve
Support the will of the voters
“What today symbolizes is a new era of cooperation and agreement with METRO,” said Culberson. “We all agree that Houston has grown more than any other city in the country because of our strong economy. As people move here, it makes our transportation problems even more acute.”
U.S. Rep. Al Green was also on hand for today’s announcement. “If we wait until we have gridlock, it is too late. This is a great opportunity for us to start a new spirit of cooperation,” stated the congressman.