You almost have to admire the single minded focus on doing something only he and a few other people really want to do.
For the first time in his long-running dispute with Houston Metro, Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, has managed to insert language into a $51.6 billion spending package that could block federal funding to expand the light rail system along Richmond and Post Oak.
Culberson, vowing to win passage of committee-approved restrictions by the entire House and Senate, told the Houston Chronicle on Wednesday the restrictions would “protect the quality of life” of constituents along Richmond Avenue and prevent Houston Metro from expanding beyond what it can afford.
Metro chief Gilbert Garcia ducked a public fight with Culberson, a member of powerful House Appropriations Committee. Garcia hailed the legislation’s inclusion of $200 million for Metro next year and said he hoped to work with Culberson to address the lawmaker’s ongoing concerns.
Rep. Gene Green, D-Houston, said he didn’t expect the measure to survive the Democrat-controlled Senate, adding that some of the restrictions Culberson sought had been worked out in 2006 in bipartisan negotiations.
Culberson’s language in the $51.6 billion spending package for 2013 for the department of transportation and the department of housing and urban development also requires the transportation department’s watchdog Inspector General to conduct “a detailed financial audit and stress test” of Houston Metro.
Amusingly, this happened at almost the same time that Metro was given an award for its budget presentation. I wonder how much that audit would cost if it were to happen. Got to keep a rein on wasteful spending, you know. And I think we all know what Culberson would say if the result of the audit were anything other than what he wants it to be.
This is as good a place as any to note that Joshua Sanders of Houstonians for Responsible Growth left a comment on my recent post about the upcoming Metro referendum in which he clarified and gave more details about his group’s intent. Suffice it to say, the story left out a lot of detail, so go take a look – it’s also now posted on HRG’s website. The Culberson story from Thursday includes his usual blathering about the 2003 referendum and how it wasn’t worded to his liking because if it had been then obviously the voters would have rejected it. I wonder what his complaint about this referendum will be. Make your early predictions about the next anti-Metro obsession in the comments. Houston Tomorrow has more.