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Rep. Poe supports rail on Richmond

He supports something, anyway, and that’s a step forward.

After seeking input from Houstonians, Congressman Ted Poe has spoken out in favor of building “something” in the University transit corridor. A statement outlining his position was released on Facebook yesterday:

“On Monday, I asked for your opinion on whether or not federal funds should be prohibited from helping to build the Richmond Rail in Houston. Over the past few days, my office has received dozens of phone calls, hundreds of emails and over one thousand Facebook comments on this issue. Many of you even took the time to speak to my staff in-person when they went door to door in the district to talk to those of you in the affected area. I thank you for all of your input on this issue. It’s simple: blocking federal funds from coming to Houston will not save any money. Instead, your money will be spent on building infrastructure in other cities. I look forward to working with Congressman Culberson, the Houston Congressional Delegation and METRO to find a solution that serves both the interests of our constituents and the City of Houston.”

Poe reports in the video that a majority of his constituents support the light rail line on Richmond.

Click over to see the video. I am quite pleasantly surprised to hear this from Rep. Poe, and more than a little smug about the fact that the anti-rail fanatics were outvoted. They always were the minority, but effectively masked that by being loud. There’s a lesson in there for the rest of us. Anyway, I was set to publish a couple of the alerts I got about this, but clearly I wasn’t quick enough on the trigger. See below the fold for them; no point in ripping all that text out. Kudos to everyone who answered the call, and to Rep. Poe and his staff for genuinely listening.


From the inbox, from Houston Tomorrow:

Support Houston Transit

Express your support for neighborhood friendly light rail on Richmond TODAY

Our elected officials will be making some big decisions this week, which will significantly influence the future of rail along Richmond Avenue.

Congressman Ted Poe, who now represents much of the route, has asked the community for input. This is a tremendous opportunity to voice your opinion.

Please comment on the FaceBook post here or send an email to Congressman Poe’s office in support of rail on Richmond. Please write in your own words and include if you are a constituent of his or if you live or work near the proposed University Light Rail Line.  Option B means that you support light rail transit on Richmond!

More details are available below.

————————————————————————————————————–

The US House of Representatives is considering the major Federal Transportation Appropriations Bill this week, which includes a clause inserted by Representative John Culberson, who no longer represents most of route of the proposed University Light Rail Line. The measures would uniquely disqualify Houston for Federal funding for transit, meaning the funds will be sent to other cities.

Congressman Ted Poe – who now represents much of the route – has asked the community for input on whether he should accept Culberson’s strange law or oppose it:

URGENT: Congressman Poe wants to hear from you. Please comment on this post with “Option A” or “Option B” to voice your opinion on this issue.

Tomorrow the House will begin debating the Transportation Appropriations bill which includes language to prohibit Federal Funds from going to part of the Richmond Rail. This amendment would not necessarily save any taxpayer money, it would simply prevent any federal funds from going to a portion of the Richmond Ave. light rail project.

Do you support Congress blocking federal funds for a portion of this project?

Option A: No, I do not want the Richmond Rail built and I am ok with Congress passing a prohibition on federal funds for this project.

Option B: Yes, I do want the Richmond Rail built.

Please comment on the FaceBook post here or send an email to Congressman Poe’s office in support of rail on Richmond. Please write in your own words and include if you are a constituent of his or if you live or work near the proposed University Light Rail Line.
Option B means that you support light rail transit on Richmond!

Houston deserves the opportunity to continue building the most successful modern light rail system in the nation (in terms of ridership per miles of rail). Don’t let Congress hold Houston back!

Houston’s Metro has instituted a comprehensive mitigation program to assist residents and businesses during and after construction. Unfortunately a small vocal opposition continues to ignore this reality, keeping residents and businesses along Richmond from enjoying the benefits of light rail. Metro’s Business Assistance Fund is a grant program designed specifically to help small businesses through the light-rail construction period.

Houston Tomorrow Light Rail Research includes studies of the actual impact of light rail construction along Main Street, attitudes and concerns of business owners, business interruption during and after construction of a new light rail line, and analysis of various alternatives for light rail in Houston.

(Photo on Houston light rail by kshilcutt)

The CTC has also picked up on this. I don’t see any mention of a deadline, but I’d assume that sooner is better than later. Especially if you live in Rep. Poe’s district, and extra especially if you live near where the University Line would be built, please leave a comment in support of doing away with Rep. Culberson’s choke hold on funding for this. Who knows when we’ll get another chance to move this forward?

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  1. [...] here for more. The good news is Rep. Poe’s sensible, constituent-responsive approach, which will [...]

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