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Posts Tagged ‘Gilbert Garcia’

Lawsuit filed over Uptown line

All things considered, I suppose this was inevitable. A homeowner’s association is suing Metro over its involvement in plans to run bus lanes along Post Oak Boulevard, saying the project puts the agency at odds with a 2003 referendum that included adding a rail line along the corridor. The lawsuit was filed Monday just minutes […]

The Chron on how Metro and Culberson came to an accord

Read all about it. Houston’s buses don’t run at 2 a.m., but that’s when Metro and U.S. Rep. John Culberson began to see real movement toward a deal to improve area transit service. “We got really intense one night and literally worked line-by-line,” Metropolitan Transit Authority chairman Gilbert Garcia said last week, explaining how months […]

What next for Metro now that peace with Culberson has broken out?

We’ve all had a chance to read over and digest the agreement Metro struck with Rep. John Culberson now. It looked good to me up front (though not to everyone – more on that in a bit), but as always with something this involved, there are many questions. What do some of these items mean, […]

Metro and Culberson announce the terms of their agreement

Gotta say, this all sounds pretty good. First, Congressman Culberson supports METRO’s proposed legislation pending in the State Legislature that expands the size of the METRO Board, increases the eligible length of Board member service and allows the existing board to elect a chairman in October with an odd initial term. These changes will help […]

New rail lines set to officially open

I’m so ready. The Metropolitan Transit Authority, after numerous delays, will christen the Green and Purple lines Saturday with free rides and community celebrations, just in time for Memorial Day. The openings signify the end of a long, sometimes painful journey that tested nerves and frustrated supporters and opponents alike. Officials are encouraged the process […]

Metro reaches detente with Culberson

Holy cow! Metro and U.S. Rep. John Culberson have called a truce in their war over a planned light rail line on Richmond Avenue, suggesting an end to an impasse that has stymied local transit development. Culberson, a Republican from Houston, has stood in the way of the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s federal funding efforts for […]

One hundred days till the new bus network

And counting down. Metro on Friday began the 100-day countdown to sweeping changes in local bus service, conceding that months of work ultimately will be judged by the level of confusion – small or large – that happens Aug. 16, and its effects on riders left with longer trips. “We cannot miss this mark, and […]

Senate passes Metro board expansion bill

From the inbox: The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) today applauded the unanimous approval of transit legislation by the Texas State Senate, that is designed to enhance Board stability, provide for an orderly transition of Board members and initiate continuity from year to year. Currently, the Texas Transportation Code provides for the appointment, […]

Metro writes off old light rail studies

What might have been. Houston transit officials Thursday wrote off $104 million wasted on multiple studies related to the controversial University and Uptown light rail projects that ultimately stalled due to a lack of funding and fierce opposition from the neighborhoods they would impact. The studies for the two lines, which were approved by voters […]

Metro board seeks to expand

It’s change that has been anticipated since the 2010 Census data was released. With all indications pointing to more people in the Metropolitan Transit Authority service area living outside Houston than inside the city, Metro officials are asking to accelerate a state-mandated expansion of the transit agency’s board. The change would mean more members appointed […]

Overpass groundbreaking

Progress. After years of conflict among community members and leaders, construction of Metro’s new Harrisburg overpass is officially underway in Houston’s East End. “It’s not just a bridge; it’s going to be a landmark in the city,” Metropolitan Transit Authority board member Diann Lewter said at a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday. […] City Council member Robert […]

Transportation Commission approves funds for Uptown BRT

Finally. Dedicated bus lanes along Loop 610 remain a part of planned transit service in the Uptown area after state officials kept $25 million allocated to an upcoming project. After months of discussions about the project’s purpose and agreements between the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Texas Department of Transportation, state transportation commissioners Thursday approved […]

Metro board approves reimagining

On to implementation. Metro’s board gave unanimous, final approval to the so-called reimagining plan, authorizing agency staff to plan public meetings to explain the changes. Between now and August, Metro must replace every sign at every bus stop, revise every bus schedule and prepare a massive educational campaign. “This will be the biggest outreach effort […]

System reimagining time

Big day today, hopefully. A once-in-a-generation change to Houston bus service – shifting from a downtown-focused, hub-and-spoke design to a broader network reflecting new ways people move around – could receive final approval by Metro’s board Wednesday. Officials say the “reimagining” may represent a make-or-break moment in the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s efforts to boost lagging […]

Uptown BRT moving forward again

Good news. Tensions are easing over plans to develop dedicated bus lanes in Uptown, where community leaders want to give commuters and shoppers more transportation options and relieve worsening congestion. “We’re there and ready to make this project happen,” said John Breeding, president of the Uptown Management District, the agency leading the project to run […]

TxDOT still screwing with Metro

WTF? Given powerful support from local and state transportation officials, the more of the parkway comes together, the more likely the last phases will fall into place. The project that remains far less certain is the planned dedicated bus lanes on Post Oak Boulevard. The project, which a few months ago was speeding along, has […]

And we’re still talking about the 2015 Mayor’s race

Here we go again. The mayor’s race may be more than a year away, but nearly all candidates have launched shadow campaigns – and not all shadow campaigns are created equal. [State Rep. Sylvester] Turner and Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, considered early frontrunners if both launch bids for City Hall, already have the name […]

Metro board approves updated bus reimagining plan

With some provisos. Despite vocal opposition, Metropolitan Transit Authority board members tentatively approved sweeping changes to the bus route system that restructure routes and change daily habits for nearly everyone who uses a bus today. The approval authorizes staff to move forward with scheduling and other features, but it doesn’t close off public comment. “We […]

Texas Transportation Commission continues to be obstinate

This continues to be ridiculous. Continued disagreement about certain features of a planned Uptown bus rapid transit system prompted a Texas transportation official to suggest Thursday that $25 million in state funding should be redirected. The comments by Texas Transportation Commissioner Jeff Moseley were the latest setback for the project, intended to relieve traffic congestion […]

No one gets to dictate that the Uptown line must be BRT forever

So as we know, the Uptown line is moving ahead as BRT. It will be paid for with a variety of funds, coming from the city, from an Uptown/Memorial TIRZ, from grants, and so forth. A key component of this is an HOV lane on 610 for the buses that will carry the passengers for […]

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 […]