METRO Rail Lines Near Halfway Point

Houston's light rail system continues to grow, with three new lines nearly halfway complete.   The light rail extensions are on track to open in 2014.

METRO's light rail opened in 2004 with a 7.5 mile track that runs from Downtown to South Fannin, just past Reliant Stadium. Ten years after that first line opened, three more lines will be operational.

METRO CEO George Greanias says the most visible progress is on the East End line, which will connect Harrisburg to downtown.

"In fact on the East End line, specifically, we have three rail stations that are actually under construction now, so it's beginning to look like a real rail system. You can see track on the ground and now you'll soon be seeing stations. There's three that are under work right now, one near the new soccer stadium, one at Lockwood and Eastwood and one at the coffee plant in the Second Ward area."

Greanias says the agency is on schedule for its 2014 opening of the new lines, despite some setbacks and challenges earlier in the process.

"We got past some very serious issues with the Federal Transit Administration about rail car procurements, we secured $900 million in federal grants for the other two lines and the Harrisburg line, the East End line, which is totally locally funded is moving along well."

Greanias says earlier this week, the light rail broke its record for single-use ridership, with more than 70,000 people riding light rail in one day.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...