Commissioners Court Wants To Keep Metro Funding In Place

Harris County Commissioners Court has passed a resolution calling on Metro to continue its General Mobility Plan, which provides a portion of sales tax revenues to local municipalities for transportation needs. Commissioners say funding levels need to stay as they are, so people in the outlying areas will get something in return for their tax dollars.

As part of its General Mobility Fund, Metro contributes 25 percent of its penny sales tax  toward infrastructure improvements in Houston, unincorporated Harris County, and surrounding communities. The Metro board is now considering whether to change that funding formula to put more money into finishing Houston's light rail lines. 

But Commissioner Jack Cagle says it's not fair to tax people outside Houston without providing something in return. 

"And I think the move to pull those funds out is a very difficult and a very dangerous process, because it forces us into an area of conflict, to where we should be in an area of cooperation. Those funds are critical to our infrastructure."

And County Judge Ed Emmett says the light rail system as it's currently designed isn't much help to suburban commuters.

"I'm just saying they need to go back and look at their system and make it a more logical system. Because right now you have a lot of people paying for services they will never use."

Metro is now finalizing ballot language as it prepares to put the issue before voters in November. Metro Chairman Gilbert Garcia has proposed capping the program at 2014 levels to free up more money for Houston's transit system.

 

Bio photo of Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

Gail Delaughter joined KUHF in October 2008 as Saturday morning news anchor and host. A native of New Orleans and a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University, Gail has extensive experience in Texas and Louisiana as a radio news reporter and morning show anchor and co-host...