Feds Sign Off On More Money For Two METRO Light Rail Lines

A big chunk of cash is on its way to Houston's Metropolitan Transit Authority to help with light rail construction. It's another installment of the nearly one billion dollars in federal money committed to Houston’s light rail lines.

So far, METRO has received more than half of the grand total it expects to get from the Federal Transit Administration.  The latest FTA funding grant comes to about $188 million. METRO President and CEO George Grenias says that money will be equally divided between the North and Southeast light rail lines.

"Despite the budget challenges they're facing in Washington DC, I think that the commitment of the current administration, the Congress, the Federal Transit Administration, the Department of Transportation to these two rail projects in Houston speaks, I think, to the solidity of these two projects and how worthwhile they see them for our community."

Grenias says the latest infusion of cash will help pay for all sorts of things related to light rail construction.

"From the roadway work and the sidewalks and the movement of utilities — which give the neighborhoods not just a new rail system, but also a brand new street, brand new sidewalks — to the guideway, that's where the track goes, the track itself, the stations, the catenary — the lines overhead — the cars that will run on the tracks."

Grenias says the North and Southeast lines are now a little more than halfway finished.  The tracks are expected to be complete by the end of next year, with revenue service starting in early 2014.

Bio photo of David Pitman

David Pitman

Local Host, Morning Edition

The one question David hears most often isn't "What is it like to work for an NPR member station?" or "Have you ever met Terry Gross?" (he has)...