Transportation

METRO Weighs Options For Light Rail To Hobby Airport

Board members are considering different proposals ahead of a bond election this fall.

The proposed light rail line to Hobby airport is part of METRONext, a long-range plan for expanding public transit.

To build the Hobby line, board members have expressed support for merging the East End and Southeast lines to create a new connection. Planners are now trying to figure out the best route to accommodate light rail.

Speaking before the METRO board, District I City Council Member Robert Gallegos said he’s heard a lot of objections to one proposal that would take the train down 75th Street. He said he worries a rail line would interfere with a big park improvement project.

“We have a beautiful green space, Mason Park,” said Gallegos. “We have a master plan. I’ve met with community three times. They’ve had input on what they’d like to see at that park.”

Other proposals for the Hobby line would put the train on major thoroughfares like Broadway Street and Telephone Road. Board Chairman Carrin Patman said the challenge is finding the most efficient route along existing streets.

“The time to get to airports matters for people using it for that purpose,” said Patman. “The more zigs and zags you have the more time is added.”

At their May meeting, board members also viewed a proposal for light rail on Washington Avenue between downtown and Heights Boulevard, but that plan was presented only for discussion.

Patman said they hope to finalize the METRONext plan in July, with another round of public engagement in June. The $3 billion bond proposal is expected to go on the ballot in November. She also said the bond proposal will not include specific routes, and that there will be lots of public meetings before any light rail project goes forward.

 

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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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