George Greanias says he feels Houstonians are now ready to embrace public transit. Greanias says the light rail line hit 95 million boardings in October. The number is expected to hit 100 million by March 2013.
The METRO chief cited figures showing that for every one dollar invested in METRO, the city gets about four dollars in economic return.
"One-third of the folks who are working downtown today came in on some form of METRO service. One-third of the people who work at the Medical Center came in on a METRO service. One-quarter of everybody who goes to the Medical Center used a METRO service to get there."
Greanias says after earlier controversy such as violations of the Federal Transit Administration's Buy America provision, METRO is an improved organization that's watching the bottom line while increasing services. He cites leadership changes, greater transparency, and more employee engagement.
"You cannot run one of the largest transit agencies in the country for the 4th largest city, in one of the largest regions in the country, if one person is the choke hold on making things happen."
Greanias also talked about public support for changes in METRO's General Mobility Fund, the fund that provides payments to local governments for street and infrastructure improvements. A referendum approved last month will allow METRO to use more of that money for transit.