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Posts Tagged ‘Gilbert Garcia’

Council approves funds for Harrisburg Line overpass

Progress! The City Council is set to decide Wednesday whether to give Metro $10 million to accommodate traffic as well as trains on a controversial overpass the transit agency plans to build along its Green Line light rail route. The council delayed action on the matter for 30 days last month at Mayor Annise Parker’s […]

A lesser overpass

I’m not very happy with this. A City Council delay in contributing funds for a contentious East End overpass will likely lead Metro back to build a span only for its light rail line and not drivers, and without some of the attributes transit officials and some nearby residents said they wanted. [...] The delay […]

Metro still aiming for an overpass

I’ll be glad when this is settled. Metropolitan Transit Authority officials said they must consider the need to extend the line east of Hughes Road, the potentially costly and time-consuming underpass construction, and the potential environment fallout after a discovery that contaminated soil was more extensive than previously believed. “We think it is our responsibility […]

Metro unveils draft bus re-imagining

Here’s your proposed new bus system. Transit planners kicked off a major shift in Houston bus service Thursday, betting that the benefit of faster service on key routes will outweigh riders’ concerns about adjusting to new schedules and service patterns. The Metropolitan Transit Authority on Thursday released a draft of its “reimagining” plan, intended as […]

Metro to make real time bus info available

Good news from Metro: METRO’s partnership with Google is getting real – as in offering real-time bus info. To sweeten the ‘real’ deal, METRO will also be providing Google with detour alerts as well. “We are focused on improving the customer experience,” said METRO Board Chairman Gilbert Garcia. “Not only will our customers know when […]

Leaning towards the over

Metro is working on a solution to the Harrisburg Line over/underpass problem. “We want the community involved and for this to be as open and honest as possible,” [Metro Board Chair Gilbert] Garcia said. Before Metro makes a decision, Garcia said, he wanted residents to have a better sense of the problem. Leaking gasoline tanks […]

Is it all over for the Harrisburg Line underpass?

Despite earlier agreement between Metro, residents, and the city to build an underpass for the far end of the Harrisburg line, it’s not looking too good for that option right now. Residents of Houston’s East End supported a 2003 transit referendum that included a light rail line through their neighborhood, but they balked six years […]

Culberson says he’s killed the University Line

And maybe he has, though it wasn’t going anywhere at this time anyway. Residents and business owners along Richmond Avenue are breathing a sigh of relief — at least for now — as U.S. Rep. John Culberson has had his way, quashing federal funding for light-rail along Richmond, west of Shepherd, and on Post Oak […]

“Go, Texans” OK’ed

Well, that‘s a relief. County Treasurer Orlando Sanchez’s quest to ban “Go Texans” and other messages from Metro’s digital bus marquees has ended unsuccessfully with a pass from the Federal Transportation Administration and a scathing letter from the Metro board chairman. Last fall, Sanchez asked the federal agency and the Harris County Attorney’s office to […]

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 […]

I got those “can’t get my rail cars built on time” blues

Actually, I don’t, but Metro does. The company building 39 new Metro railcars has yet to deliver an acceptable vehicle almost six months after the original due date, potentially delaying full service for rail lines scheduled to open later this year. The first car hasn’t passed a required water leak test and exceeds the maximum […]

The lost canopy

Very disappointing. Metro officials on Thursday scaled back plans for an iconic downtown Houston transit hub where three rail lines will cross after board members grew frustrated with what they called inexcusable delays and cost overruns. “This has been mismanaged from the get-go, and there cannot be situations where things are not budgeted fully,” Metropolitan […]

Metro gets more money

Good news. Congress has appropriated $189 million for two of our light-rail lines – the North/Red Line extension and the Southeast/Purple Line. Each line will receive $94.5 million. The funds are part of the $900 million Full Funding Grant Agreements signed by federal officials in November 2011. METRO Board Chairman Gilbert Garcia called this appropriation vital. “This […]

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 […]

North Line on track to open early

Excellent. Metro’s North Line light rail extension will open ahead of schedule in December, officials said Thursday, providing the first new light rail service in Houston in almost 10 years. The announcement at the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s monthly board meeting followed a series of delays and setbacks for the agency’s light rail expansion project, authorized […]

Fare enforcement for Metro

Dodging the fare on the light rail lines could become more difficult to do. Provided a key piece of state legislation comes through, Metro officials said the plan is to have new monitors in place when the new North, East and Southeast lines start ferrying passengers along the city’s rail system. “It is growing a […]

The day pass is back

From Metro: The METRO Board of Directors [Thursday] took the first step to bring back the “day pass.” The Board voted to commit $175,000 to adapt METRO’s Q Card system so a $3.00 extended “day pass” feature can be accommodated later this year. The action allows METRO to modify an existing contract with ACS/Xerox so […]

Uptown BRT

Interesting news from Swamplot. The driving force of a project that Uptown Houston District has proposed to the city to transform Post Oak Blvd.? Big beautiful buses. With both residential and commercial developments like Skanska’s 20-story office building popping up along the major transit corridor and METRO’s Uptown/Gold Line nowhere in sight, the District has […]

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 […]

Precinct analysis: Metro

The first rule of precinct analysis, at least as I do it, is that you really can’t learn much by doing it on lopsided elections. The Metro referendum, which passed with 78% of the vote, is Exhibit A of this phenomenon. Here’s how the vote went in the State Rep districts for the Metro issue: […]

Closing arguments for the Metro referendum

One way or another, this argument will be settled on Tuesday. What happens after that is still anyone’s guess. The referendum on Tuesday’s ballot asks whether to continue spending some public transit sales tax money on streets and bridges. Opponents have campaigned against it by recasting the question: Should transit money be spent on roads […]

KHOU story on the Metro poll question

I noted yesterday that there would be a separate story on the Metro referendum result from that KHOU/KUHF poll of Harris County.That story is here. A new poll indicates the Metro referendum on Houston area ballots will probably pass, but as early voting began a large number of voters hadn’t made up their minds. About […]

All the interviews for 2012

As we begin early voting for the November election, here are all the interviews I conducted for candidates who are on the ballot as well as for the referenda. These include interviews that were done for the primary as well as the ones done after the primary. I hope you found them useful. Senate: Paul […]

More back and forth on the Metro referendum

Metro Board Chair Gilbert Garcia explains the referendum for those who say they don’t understand it. The referendum is as easy as 1-2-3. If approved, it will: 1. Continue the road-building program. 2. Expand Metro’s bus system. 3. Pay down Metro’s short-term debt. Sure, the mathematics of how the money flows to accomplish these items […]

Interview with Gilbert Garcia and Christof Spieler

Continuing the discussion of the Metro referendum, today’s interview is with Metro Board Chair Gilbert Garcia, and Board Member Christof Spieler. Garcia originally proposed a referendum that would continue the GMP but freeze revenues for the member entities at 2014 levels, with Metro getting all of the revenue increases above that. After an alternate measure […]

Can’t we all just get along?

I have a question about this. Commissioner Steve Radack has already been heaped with praise from his colleagues for helping broker a deal with Metro chairman Gilbert Garcia and Houston Mayor Annise Parker that replaced an earlier proposal that would have drastically reduced the county’s share of that mobility money. As the court voted to […]

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 […]

Endorsement watch: For Metro

The Chron comes out in favor of another referendum. If you look closely at the weekday mix of traffic, you’ll finds lots of 18-wheelers inching along during rush hour. That makes congestion more than an annoyance for individual commuters. Along with the clean air impact it brings, it creates a serious competitiveness issue for this […]

Houston Tomorrow versus Metro

David Crossley: On November 6, you will be asked to vote on whether to stop expansion of light rail transit service in Houston. If you think that’s a terrible idea, you must vote No. If you do, you will be going up against some very powerful people and institutions. But that’s what voters do, isn’t […]

Metro board passes amended GMP referendum

More consensus this time. The board voted 8-1 for a measure that, if approved by voters, would continue the so-called General Mobility Program in its current form, allocating a quarter of Metro’s 1-cent sales tax to Harris County, Houston and 14 small cities in Metro’s service area. The local governments use these funds for road […]

Deal struck on the GMP

Well, this is interesting. The Metro board on Aug. 3 approved a ballot proposal that would have shifted tens of millions of dollars more in mobility payments to Houston at the expense of the county and small cities by basing the payments on where sales taxes are collected. Monday’s tentative deal – reached in a […]

The Radack way

You have to admire the single-minded focus, I’ll say that much for the man. Allen Watson may have figured his role as a member of Metro’s board of directors occasionally would dent his political capital, but a vote he cast last Friday may cost his company cash. Watson was one of five city of Houston […]

Up or down, more or less

Metro has chosen its referendum. A sharply divided Metro board approved a plan Friday that would give the city of Houston tens of millions of dollars more for road projects under a ballot referendum to be put before voters in November. The 5-4 vote followed a sometimes strained, four-hour meeting and sparked accusations that city […]

Keep Moving Houston Forward PAC poll on Metro and GMP

Yesterday I wrote about a poll commissioned by Houstonians for Responsible Growth on Metro and the General Mobility Program. That poll suggested that any changes to the GMP would be difficult for Metro to get, especially in the face of a negative campaign against it. Later in the day, I received the following in my […]