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Posts Tagged ‘George Greanias’

Metro names Lambert its next CEO

For the second time in a row, the Metro board will make its interim CEO its permanent CEO. The Metropolitan Transit Authority board on Thursday voted unanimously to open negotiations with Tom Lambert for the permanent president and CEO position. Lambert, who has led the agency on an interim basis since December 2012, served as […]

If only it were that easy to get our act together

Outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has some blunt words for Houston about light rail. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood likes Houston’s light rail that’s up and running but warns that regional transit officials have squandered opportunities the past decade by not building greater consensus. “The region needs to get its act together,” LaHood said during […]

Metro moving forward with advertising

This has been in the works for a long time. Depending on what Metropolitan Transit Authority officials decide regarding a new revenue plan, your light rail trip could end at the Taco Bell Station, or some similarly named stop. Officials in early 2013 are expected to receive more information on a revenue plan exploring potential […]

Greanias officially resigns, interim Metro CEO named

George Greanias may have stepped down as CEO of Metro, but he’ll still be around for awhile, as Metro searches for his successor. Metropolitan Transit Authority board members on Thursday accepted Greanias’ resignation, named an interim replacement and approved a six-month, $117,500 contract with Greanias – equivalent to half his annual salary – to consult […]

Greanias to step down from Metro

Bummer. George Greanias, appointed to lead the Metropolitan Transit Authority in September 2010 after political squabbling and inefficiencies led to widespread criticism of the bus and train system, is resigning, a Metro spokeswoman confirmed Friday. Greanias has stated his intent to resign from his position as president and chief executive officer, but a formal letter […]

Sumners for Controller?

Yeah, I don’t know about that. County tax assessor-collector Don Sumners, who lost his bid for re-election in the May GOP primary, said Wednesday he is considering running for city controller next year. “The part that has to be decided is whether I can actually win. I’m not a spring chicken,” said Sumners, 73. Controller […]

Buses and trains, not buses or trains

I have a lot of emotion about this, but I’m still working through how to express it. Metropolitan Transit Authority officials say the agency is on firmer financial footing than it has been in years. They plan to add shelters at 100 bus stops in the next year, replace aging buses with larger and smaller […]

Whither the University Line?

Is the University Line in doubt? Some people think so. Over the last decade, METRO spent $71 million of your dollars to build a rail line. But the agency recently took that project off the table for at least another decade and no work has been done. So where did all that money go? Ten […]

Metro signs Full Funding Grant Agreement

Full speed ahead. The head of the Federal Transit Administration on Monday signed $900 million in grant agreements to help pay for two Houston light-rail lines under construction by the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The grants, the first federal funds ever provided for rail in Houston, were formally approved in a ceremony attended by the FTA […]

Runoff overview: District A

I don’t remember there being a Chron overview story for the District A regular election, but now that it’s in overtime we get an overview story about the race between CM Brenda Stardig and challenger Helen Brown. Better late than never, right? Just a few thoughts about the article. First, it’s a little silly to […]

Signing date for Full Funding Grant Agreement announced

From the Metro blog: On Monday, Nov. 28, METRO will be joined by federal officials, along with members of Houston’s congressional delegation, to sign the long-awaited Full Funding Grant Agreements (FFGA) for the North and Southwest light-rail lines. President & CEO George Greanias announced the signing date [Wednesday] at the Greater Houston Partnership’s luncheon. This […]

Construction pains

I feel for the people and businesses that are being affected by Metro’s light rail construction. I wish that these large construction projects could be done without that kind of disruption, but it happens, and it sucks. What amazed me in reading this story was what some of those folks had to say about it: […]

On spending and jobs

What exactly was the point of this story? About 600 workers already are on the job building the North, Southeast and East End lines, according Metro. “This is an opportunity for Metro to create thousands of jobs in Houston for local contractors, construction workers, and engineers,” Mayor Annise Parker said in a recent blog post […]

Metro officially back on track with the FTA

The “Buy America” nightmare is now history for Metro. In September 2010, the FTA announced that the process Metro had used to award a rail car contract to CAF USA, the U.S. subsidiary of a Spanish company, violated federal law and “Buy America” requirements that were designed to protect U.S. jobs. To requalify for federal […]

Greanias’ return

Metro CEO George Greanias is back on the job after serving a week’s suspension for viewing adult websites on his laptop while connected to Metro’s WiFi network. Since the surprising announcement 10 days ago, Greanias has been publicly silent, spending time with family members out of town. The Houston Chronicle’s attempts to contact him have […]

Greanias’ suspension

I’m as shocked by this as you are. The Metropolitan Transit Authority’s efforts to rebuild public confidence suffered a setback Thursday with the announcement that President and CEO George Greanias, the public face of the “new Metro,” has been suspended for visiting sexually explicit websites using the agency’s Internet access. Some observers said Greanias, who […]

Airport Direct on the way out

You can’t say they didn’t try. Metropolitan Transit Authority officials have decided to eliminate express bus service to George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Canceling the airport service was one of a dozen suggested route changes that were discussed at a public hearing Tuesday. Metro officials concluded after the hearing that they should proceed with plans to […]

City asks Metro for Harrisburg underpass

From the Inbox: Houston Mayor and METRO Seek Common Ground on East End Line Resolution of Harrisburg/Hughes Streets Over/Under Question Becomes a Milestone The city of Houston has concluded there is “strong sentiment” within the East End community for an underpass at Harrisburg/Hughes St. and has requested METRO’s Board of Directors vote in support of a […]

Metro gets more light rail funds

From the US Department of Transit: U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced $1.58 billion for 27 transit projects nationwide that will improve public transportation access for millions of Americans while reducing our dependence on foreign oil and curbing air pollution. “Investing in a modern transportation network is a key part of President Obama’s strategy […]

No Metro redistricting for now

Back in January there was a Chron story that pointed out a state law that would require the Metro board to add two more members if the non-Houston population of Metro’s service area made up 75% or more of the total. Metro did a study to see what the Census data said, and it concluded […]

East End community meeting to consider Harrisburg grade separation

From the Inbox: East End community meeting to consider Harrisburg grade separation Wednesday, June 15 Union Pacific’s East Belt rail subdivision is one of the busiest in the city, carrying more than 30 freight trains a day through Houston’s East End. For years, the crossing at Harrisburg has created delays and headaches for motorists and […]

Metro still trying to figure out Airport Direct

Good news: Ridership on Metro’s Airport Direct service is way up. Bad news: Thanks to the reduced fare, revenue is down. Launched in 2008, Airport Direct has always lost money. The service costs about $1.9 million a year to operate, and even at $15 per ride, fares brought in only about $450,000 annually. Under the […]

Bye-bye, intermodal center

In the process of writing off some bad assets in what one hopes is the last ritual cleansing of the Frank Wilson era, Metro says good-bye to something we hadn’t heard of in awhile. Metro has given up on what it calls an intermodal terminal just north of downtown at Main and Burnett streets on […]

Metro in the President’s budget

They did all right. Houston Metro’s expansion is getting a $200 million boost in Obama’s budget request to Congress. The money for the North Corridor and the Southeast Corridor projects is $50 million more than the $150 million set aside by Obama in his last two budget proposals. The Metro project is part of a […]

Yet another threat to light rail expansion

Great. The House could vote as soon as mid-February on a plan by the conservative House Republican Study Committee to end the 35-year-old Federal Transit Administration’s “New Starts” program,” which pours $2 billion-a-year into urban transit projects such as Houston Metro’s bid to complete five light rail lines across the 579-square-mile city of 2.3 million. […]

Metro reaches settlement with CAF

Fresh from the inbox: The Metropolitan Transit Authority announced today that it has reached a settlement with CAF USA, Inc. (a subsidiary of the Spanish Firm Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, S.A.) over two disputed contracts for the construction of light rail cars for its North and Southeast Corridor lines. Under the agreement, the contracts […]

Moving on at Metro

Frank Wilson is gone at Metro, and others are following him out the door. “A number of the senior appointees that Frank Wilson brought in are no longer here,” said George Greanias, Wilson’s successor, but he did not describe it as a purge. The positions of the five people who have left were abolished, and […]

Metro tries again with Airport Direct service

Metro will lower the fare and add more downtown stops for its Airport Direct service in an attempt to make it stop losing so much money. The 52-passenger bus currently averages two riders per trip from its passenger plaza at 815 Pierce to Terminal C at the airport each half hour. The one-way fare is […]

Metro to try mediation with CAF

Whatever works. The Metropolitan Transit Authority plans to negotiate the cancellation of a $331 million contract with a Spanish rail car manufacturer through mediation, local transit bosses said Wednesday. That is why, despite the agency’s announced intention to cancel the contract, no action [was] proposed on [Thursday's] agenda, explained Metro President George Greanias and board […]

Metro’s Airport Direct service

The good news is that the people who use Metro’s Airport Direct service from downtown to IAH really like it. The bad news is that not nearly enough people use it. The scarcity of passengers on the Airport Direct service has prompted Metropolitan Transit Authority leaders to consider changes such as limiting the service to […]

Metro takes a step forward on advertising

For its 2011 fiscal year budget, Metro is taking a tentative step forward on allowing ads to be placed on its buses. Metro is considering placing ads on buses to generate revenue (page 37). George Greanias, president and chief executive officer, told me that this idea is merely being explored and no revenue from this […]

How Metro nearly cost itself $900 million

It’s an impressive feat, for some sense of the word. In the first months of the procurement process, documents show, [former Metro CEO Frank] Wilson intended to use local rather than federal funds to buy the light-rail vehicles, possibly in the hope that this would avert the need to comply with federal requirements. “FJW (Wilson) […]

Metro responds to FTA, and CAF responds to Metro

Over the weekend, Metro posted a letter from CEO George Greanias to the FTA in response to the findings of the FTA from their investigation into Buy America compliance. Basically, Metro says they agree with the FTA’s findings, have issued to a stop-work notification to Spanish vendor CAF, and will work to terminate their contract […]

Add another year to the construction schedule

Metro may have dodged a bullet with the FTA, but they’re still going to feel the effect of the federal agency’s decision in the Buy America case. The Metropolitan Transit Authority today retracted its acting president’s statement that the agency could complete construction of three rail lines by October 2013, saying a delay of up […]