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Posts Tagged ‘Southeast line’

When are we getting those trains again?

The Metro board has some doubts about railcar manufacturer CAF’s ability to keep its promises. Houston transit officials, worried that the light rail system might run short of trains for months after two new lines open, are not satisfied with a new schedule for delivery of delayed rail cars. Metropolitan Transit Authority officials expressed deep […]

We’ll get our new trains in January

We have a deadline. The company building Metro’s new trains will deliver the final car to Houston five months late, according to a revised schedule submitted to the transit agency. The Metropolitan Transit Authority is reviewing the schedule, spokesman Jerome Gray said, and hasn’t agreed to the new timeline. The revision was one of the  […]

Riding that crowded train

Metro ponders its options for dealing with potential delays in the delivery of new railcars. Metro officials said Wednesday that the best solution to an expected shortage of railcars might be to limit trains on the main light rail line to one car rather than two, freeing up cars from the current fleet to serve […]

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 […]

End of year B-Cycle report

B-Cycle has been in Houston for nine months, having launched in early April. So far, it’s done pretty well. The B-Cycle system’s 29th station was christened earlier this month in front of Clayton Homes. Officials said they hoped to provide new customers for bike-sharing and new opportunities for low-income families. “The more you use the […]

On riding the North Line

Can we wait until we’ve had at least one non-holiday work week before we start talking about North Line ridership numbers? Thanks. The changes brought by the rail line, an extension of the Main Street Line now known as the Red Line, might develop more gradually than some residents and businesses hope. Early signs are […]

What can we do to get the Universities Line going?

This story is about the opening of the North Line, but it’s also about where Metro goes from here. The opening of the lines won’t spell the end of the construction. To complete the final mile of the East Line, Metro must build an underpass at Harrisburg and 66th Street at the Houston Belt & […]

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 […]

Please try to avoid getting hit by the new light rail trains

Seriously, watch where you’re driving when you drive along or past the new rail lines. The train is bigger than you and your car, and if you pick a fight with it you will lose. Metro is working to make sure drivers and pedestrians get that message. Starting next year, Houston will have 15 new […]

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 […]

A streetcar for the East End?

It could happen. As the once solidly industrial East End transforms with a 4-month-old soccer stadium, a light rail line under construction and the imminent sale of a 136-acre plot that could signal coming lofts and boutiques, boosters are studying the possibility of reviving the streetcar in Houston after an absence of more than 70 […]

What would you do with 136 acres near downtown?

Something urban, mixed-use, and transit-oriented, one hopes. A rare opportunity lies in 136 acres just east of downtown Houston. The Buffalo Bayou-front parcel, a longtime industrial and office complex, went on the market earlier this summer – a move bayou enthusiasts, East End residents and real estate developers had been anticipating for years. Some of […]

FTA writes another check for light rail construction

Keep ‘em coming. The expansion of Houston Metro got another boost from the federal government with the allocation of $188 million in additional construction funding for the North and Southeast light rail lines. Congressman Gene Green, the Houston Democrat who is dean of the metropolitan area’s House delegation, said the money is part of Houston […]

Metro and UH make nice

Good. Construction of a light-rail line that would cross University of Houston property can continue now that UH and Metro officials settled differences that threatened to delay the project. UH announced in a statement Tuesday that university officials have agreed to allow the Metropolitan Transit Authority to start the next phase of construction of the […]

UH prof writes letter in support of resolution with Metro

After I published about UH holding up construction on the Southeast Line over concerns about the route, I was forwarded a letter sent by UH English professor Irving Rothman to UH President Renu Khator asking her to get this issue resolved. Here’s the letter. When I first arrived in Houston with my family in 1967, […]

UH versus Metro over Southeast Line route

Not sure what’s up with this. Half a year after receiving a long-delayed $450 million federal funding grant for its Southeast line, Metro appears to have run into almost as big an obstacle to progress on that light-rail alignment much closer to home – the University of Houston. “I can confirm for you that UH […]

Houston Central Station

This is pretty cool. [Last Tuesday], the Houston Downtown Management District hosted a competition featuring designs from five award-winning architectural firms. The challenge: to design an iconic new Central Station – Main on Main Street between Capitol and Rusk. The station would also be the transfer point for three light-rail lines. The five invited firms […]

Council approves B-Cycle, and other bike news

One other item that Council approved on its last day of business for the year was to clear the way for the city to start up bike sharing with B-cycle. As you know, I’ve been following this along, and am delighted to see this milestone. I look forward to the official launch, hopefully some time […]

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 […]

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: […]

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 […]

Laying track

This has been a long time coming. For the first time in 10 years, workers this morning poured concrete for a new section of Metro light-rail track. The 80-foot section of steel rail will be part of the 6.6-mile Southeast Line. The line, scheduled for completion in 2014, will extend from Smith Street downtown to […]

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 […]

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 restarts some light rail construction

As if to punctuate Gilbert Garcia’s op-ed, the news for Metro at the start of 2011 is good. Last month, the Federal Transit Administration sent the first $50 million of the grant money for use on the North and Southeast lines. Last week, the FTA issued pre-clearance letters Metro needed before it could proceed with […]

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 […]

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 […]

FTA gives Metro a second chance

That sound you hear is a bullet whizzing past Metro’s ear Metro violated federal laws in making a deal with a Spanish company to purchase 103 rail cars, and must re-bid the purchase in order to qualify for a $900 million grant, the nation’s top transit official said today. Peter Rogoff, the administrator of the […]

Metro’s cash crunch

From last week, a story about how times are tough at Metro. Facing a $49 million budget shortfall this fiscal year, the Metropolitan Transit Authority has begun to slow construction on two light rail lines and may embrace more drastic measures in the coming months as uncertainty grows over a $800 million grant from the […]

Another setback for DART

More bad news from Dallas. Dallas Area Rapid Transit can’t afford to build light-rail service to D/FW International Airport by 2013 as it has long said it would, the agency’s chief financial officer said Tuesday. The news comes as a sharp reversal, but CFO David Leininger said the only way the project can be built […]

Metro responds to FTA letter about “Buy America”

As we know, Metro had received a letter from the FTA that challenged its compliance with the FTA’s “Buy America” requirement due to Metro’s agreement to buy two prototype light rail cars that would be built in Spain. Metro has now responded to that letter and produced some rather compelling evidence that their actions did […]