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More on Rep. Poe and the University line

Here’s the Chron story on Rep. Ted Poe’s surprising-to-me support of building the University Line.

Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, whose district shifted earlier this year to include portions of the area where the planned University Line would run along Richmond Avenue, said door-to-door canvassing by his staffers as well as phone and online responses demonstrate his constituents support the line.

In remarks Tuesday on the House floor, Poe said 604 respondents to a Facebook solicitation supported the rail line, compared to 340 opposed to it.

“We’re not saying it is scientific, but it does help let me know what people are thinking,” Poe said. “I believe the area I represent wants light rail.”

Poe’s district includes Richmond from Main Street to Shepherd Drive. The alignment west of Shepherd lies within the district of Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, one of the rail line’s most formidable and implacable foes.

[…]

Though some early plans received a favorable environmental review by the Federal Transit Administration, Metro board chairman Gilbert Garcia said the agency’s priorities are focused now on opening the three lines under construction and developing bus rapid transit along Post Oak Boulevard.

“We have our hands full,” Garcia said, noting that Metro isn’t seeking federal funds for the University Line at this time.

Garcia said Poe’s encouragement left the door open to securing federal funds, although it might be years before Metro gets to the point of asking for them.

See here for more. The good news is Rep. Poe’s sensible, constituent-responsive approach, which will be at least somewhat of a counterbalance to Rep. John Culberson’s fanatical opposition. Rep. Poe’s point that if we don’t take the money that we are eligible for someone else will get it is welcome. The bad news is that the most critical part of the University Line is still under Culberson’s thumb. Barring a court-ordered redraw of the Congressional boundaries that puts Culberson on the outside or an upset win over him by a rail supporter, the basic dynamic hasn’t changed much. Given that we’re not likely to turn our attention to the University Line for at least a few years anyway, perhaps this will give fate a chance to intervene in some way we don’t see coming. In the meantime, it’s a small but positive development, and I’ll take those where I can get them.

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