Transit Agency Collects Public Comment on Proposed Rail Line

Metro holds a public hearing on one of five light rail lines designed to improve mobility in Houston.  The hearing assures funding from Federal Transit Administration.  Pat Hernandez has the story.

The public hearing which takes place on the campus of Texas Southern University, is for the transit agency’s southeast corridor, which will offer light rail from downtown to the Palm Center in SE Houston.

Community input had been collected when the line was to use buses, but Metro spokeswoman Sandra Salazar says public input for a supplemental document is now needed after the federal government modified its rules for estimating ridership, a critical element of funding eligibility.

“It is a very important part of the process. It is crucial that we receive public input, we receive public comments because last time we were out there with an environmental document, we were talking about bus rapid transit. It is very important that people realize that we’re no longer doing bus rapid transit, but instead we’re doing light rail as we were committed from the get-go.”

The Federal Transit Administration now evaluates projected ridership on a corridor as part of a larger system.  Also, it accounts for a phenomenon known as “rail bias,” which means that people tend to use light rail more than traditional buses in the same corridor.

All five light rail expansion lines are scheduled to be in service in four years.

Pat Hernandez. KUHF- Houston Public Radio News.