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Metro Could Soon Go Back To Voters With A New Transit Referendum

In the annual “State of Metro” address before the Greater Houston Partnership, the transit agency’s chairman says there’s a lot that still needs to be done following the last referendum.


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Metro Chairman Carrin Patman gives the Greater Houston Partnership's "State of Metro" address.
Metro Chairman Carrin Patman gives the Greater Houston Partnership’s “State of Metro” address.

In 2003 voters approved $640 million in bonding authority for Metro. In the years following, the agency built three new light rail lines.

But Chairman Carrin Patman says there wasn't enough money for all the projects on Metro's list. So as the region continues to grow, Patman expects they'll soon go back before voters with another referendum.

One of the projects that remains unfunded is the proposed 90A rail line that would bring commuters in from the west. And Patman says Houston still doesn't have rail service to Bush Intercontinental and Hobby airports.

"I think there's a lot of popular support for that," says Patman. "Another one is some kind of connection between downtown and the Galleria."

In her speech, Patman called for a regional plan that would link Metro's services with other transit providers. But how much will it cost to do all this?

"Once we have the projects we want to go back with, we'll then be able to go back with cost estimates on those and then determine from there the amount of bonding authority we need," adds Patman.

Officials say Metro could have something on the ballot by November 2017.