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Uptown transit plan gets key funding approval

Good news.

Plans for bus-only lanes along Post Oak Boulevard in the Uptown area moved forward Thursday when a key committee recommended spending $62 million in federal funds.

Members of the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s transportation improvement program subcommittee approved the spending, a month after delaying a decision so staff could study the issue more, especially regarding plans for the buses to use lanes along Loop 610. In the end, after that additional analysis, planners found the project to build bus-only lanes along Post Oak and offer dedicated service between two park and ride lots is worthwhile, even without the freeway component.

“This project would score exactly in the middle of the highest tier,” said Alan Clark, manager of transportation and air quality programs at the Houston-Galveston council.

Two more approvals from a technical committee and the region’s transportation policy committee are needed for the project to receive the federal funds.

[...]

Combined, the Westpark transit center and rapid transit project and Post Oak improvements are estimated to cost about $148 million. The work along Loop 610 is considered a separate $40 million project, which likely will follow the bus upgrades, set to open in 2017.

See here for the background. H-GAC had wanted to get more technical input from TxDOT about the Uptown plan as a whole and in regard to the HOV service before signing off on the grant money. As originally reported, up to $45 million may be available, with that money originating with the federal government and being allocated by H-GAC. I’m not exactly sure where the $62 million figure comes from; perhaps it includes work related to the Uptown project but not for the work on 610. Their next meeting is June 28, and at this point I feel confident the grant will be approved.

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