Transportation

Metro May Put BP Settlement Money In Its Pension Fund

Like Harris County and the City of Houston, Metro is getting millions of dollars after settling with oil giant BP over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Transit officials say they have a good idea as to what to do with the money.

Metro Chairman Gilbert Garcia and CEO Tom Lambert listen to discussion at their July board meeting.
Metro Chairman Gilbert Garcia and CEO Tom Lambert listen to discussion at their July board meeting.

Metro says it lost sales tax revenue as a result of the spill because of a decline in drilling activity. The agency filed a claim, and has now settled with BP for $9.2 million. After legal fees, that boils down to about $6 million.

So what is Metro going to do with that money?

Board Chairman Gilbert Garcia proposes putting it in the employee pension fund.

“We’re going to have a comprehensive review of our pension plans, both union and non-union,” says Garcia. “Like other pension funds in America, they are underfunded.”

Garcia says the contributions they have to make to the fund grow bigger and bigger over time. So by contributing unbudgeted funds, they could save money in the future.

“Better to sort of try to cut that gap on the front end, so over time the compounding of that money makes the overall contribution less than if you kept it where it is today,” says Garcia.

Metro’s board could take action on the settlement money at next month’s meeting.

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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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