Houston Matters

City Faces Lawsuits Over Post Oak Bus Lanes and Drainage Fee

Earlier this month, a homeowner’s association filed a lawsuit against METRO, the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County. The Cosmopolitan Condominium Association alleges the transportation agency isn’t complying with a 2003 referendum voters passed in favor of adding light rail to Post Oak Boulevard. The suit alleges METRO running bus lanes along Post Oak puts […]

Earlier this month, a homeowner’s association filed a lawsuit against METRO, the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County.

The Cosmopolitan Condominium Association alleges the transportation agency isn’t complying with a 2003 referendum voters passed in favor of adding light rail to Post Oak Boulevard. The suit alleges METRO running bus lanes along Post Oak puts them at odds with that referendum. A groundbreaking ceremony for the Post Oak bus lane project was held the same day the lawsuit was filed.

The City of Houston, meanwhile, is facing a class action lawsuit filed a few weeks ago, seeking reimbursement for the drainage fee that helps fund ReBuild Houston. The lawsuit was filed days after the Texas Supreme Court ruled the ReBuild ballot measure obscured the nature and cost of that fee.

Katherine Driessen covers City Hall for the Houston Chronicle. She’s been following both lawsuits, and she tells Houston Matters’ Maggie Martin the group filing the lawsuit against METRO has long been opposed to the Post Oak project.

Mayor Parker’s office issued a statement about the court’s ruling and the lawsuit regarding the drainage fee, saying:

“The ruling by the Texas Supreme Court regarding the language for the Proposition 1 charter amendment has no bearing on whether the drainage ordinance continues. It was the enabling ordinance adopted by City Council that actually created the drainage utility and accompanying monthly fee that finances the streets and drainage program.

 

For this reason, the ongoing legal dispute has no bearing on the City budget for the coming fiscal year, or the five-year Capital Improvement Program currently under consideration by City Council. Additionally, the allegations in the new Perez v. Parker lawsuit filed last week are not only pre-mature, they are based on an insupportable premise.”

And in a statement regarding the lawsuit against the Post Oak bus project, METRO Chairman Gilbert Garcia said:

“METRO is disappointed in this lawsuit. It makes legal and factual allegations that are unfounded and directs litigation against METRO for a project that METRO neither sponsors nor pays for. The Post Oak corridor is not a METRO project, rather one initiated and developed by the Uptown Management District.

It is particularly disappointing when volunteer public officials are sued without cause. Hopefully, such an action will not have a chilling impact on young people who volunteer for public service.

 

METRO’s mission is to provide efficient and effective transit in all forms. We will continue to explore various options to make mobility in our region as easy as possible.

 

Therefore, METRO will vigorously defend this lawsuit and I look forward to the opportunity to present the real facts and evidence before the Court.”

MORE:
HOA Sues METRO Over Post Oak Bus Project (Houston Chronicle, June 15, 2015)
ReBuild Opponents Seek Class Action Lawsuit Against City Over Drainage Fee (Houston Chronicle, June 17, 2015)

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