Houston Mayor Annise Parker says it’s a good compromise because METRO will get to keep more of the money, to pay down debt and run more buses.
“This is not about ‘for rail’ or ‘against rail,’ this is what is the best system we could have. Buses are the workhorse of any transit system, and this says ‘METRO you’ve got to go back and make sure that bus system is the best it can be’ and I think that’s a good thing.”
METRO board chairman Gilbert Garcia says the “Yes” vote means METRO will continue sharing some of its tax revenue with Harris County, Houston and other municipalities. But Garcia says it’s a good compromise because METRO will get to keep more of the money and use it pay down debt and run more buses.
“We’ve got to build up the ridership. That’s our mission. And we need to be at METRO mode agnostic, and we just need to really move as many people as we can. And so we’ve got to restore the bus ridership.”
Opponents of the referendum said the funding compromise will have the unfortunate effect of slowing down progress on the light-rail system, and that many voters didn’t realize that would be a consequence. But both Parker and Garcia maintain that rail won’t suffer under the plan.