Transportation

Metro Looks At How To Provide Buses Outside Its Service Area

Metro is considering ways it can provide bus service to areas that don’t subsidize public transit. That includes cities that don’t currently collect a sales tax for Metro operations.

Metro board members discussed the proposed policy during a meeting of the Capital and Strategic Planning Committee.

Metro is considering ways it can provide bus service to areas that don’t subsidize public transit. That includes cities that don’t currently collect a sales tax for Metro operations. 

Fifteen local communities collect a one-cent sales tax that goes to Metro. The service area also includes much of unincorporated Harris County.

But Metro has the option of providing contract services in places that don’t collect the sales tax. And the agency is looking at a new policy on how to provide those buses.

At a meeting of the Capital and Strategic Planning Committee, board member Cindy Siegel said if they’re going to run service outside the area, they need to encourage those communities to eventually join Metro.

“That there’s an incentive for them to actually start putting in their cut of sales tax dollars,” added Siegel.

But board member Christof Spieler explained it may take a legislative remedy to get more cities on board. He said many communities have reached their limit on how much sales tax they can collect.

“For them to join the service area one of these cities would have to actually give up sales tax revenue to the city,” said Spieler. “And give it to Metro instead.”

The Metro board is expected to discuss the issue further at next week’s meeting and then take a vote in May.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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