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Obama Puts Money on METRO

President Obama submitted his budget plan to Congress today. It includes additional funding for Houston’s light rail project. Laurie Johnson reports.


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The President’s budget includes good news and bad news for the Houston region. He’s shaved one percent off of NASA’s already tight budget.

But METRO’s light rail project continues to get the green light, with another $200 million allocation in fiscal year 2012. METRO President and CEO George Greanias says that’s in addition to the $300 million already allocated to the agency.

“We worked very hard last fall to regroup after a very difficult summer. And I think the way we approached that regrouping work has made an impression on the Federal Transit Administration, on the Obama Administration, and I think that is why even in these very difficult budgetary times, the President, and I take it the Federal Transit Administration, is saying Houston’s work merits priority treatment.”

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee says she has been assured METRO will get the money.

“There were a number of infrastructure projects around America that did not make it in. And a picture is worth a thousand words. When Secretary LaHood came here and saw the activity of the seven-mile run, saw the energy that was being put forward, we were able to make it in and we are now in the President’s budget.”

The funding is part of an overall $900 million grant to build two new light rail lines in Houston.

KUHF contributes to, a public radio reporting project. “Transportation Nation combines the work of public radio newsrooms and their listeners as the way we build, rebuild, and get around the nation changes.”

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Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

News Director

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez leads news coverage for Houston Public Media across broadcast and digital platforms. Ramirez is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Before becoming News Director, Ramirez held the position of Executive Producer for Daily News, leading daily and breaking news coverage, helping...

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