The GMP is Metro’s General Mobility Program, which distributes funds for road projects to Houston, Harris County, and the smaller Metro member cities. The smaller cities like it as it is, don’t want any changes made to it, and claim they give more than their fair share. I called for some objective data to check that claim, and I got it. Two slides from that presentation sum it all up:
Yeah, that’s a pretty good deal for the small cities. In fairness to Missouri City Mayor Allen Owen, the chair of the small cities coalition, his own town gets a mere fifty-four cents on the dollar back from the GMP. I’m pretty sure Houston would take that deal. All these cities also get things like park and ride lots, MetroLift, and the benefit of the HOV lanes. Metro has spent a ton of money on the park and ride/HOV network. I suspect the motivation of the small cities is in part a belief that changing the formula means more will be spent on light rail, which being inside Houston doesn’t benefit them much, though again Missouri City stands to gain from future rail construction. The point is that the money Metro gets goes to a lot more than buses and light rail. I’m really hard pressed to see how altering that equation a little in favor of the latter is unfair to the current participants.