January 11, 2008
An update on Metro and the FTA

This article, on the opening of Metro's new North Corridor community office tomorrow, is more interesting for the update it gives on the FTA approval process for the newly re-christened light rail lines.

The North Line was one of Metro's corridors that was originally scheduled to be Bus Rapid Transit, but Metro approved switching it to light rail.

The FTA, however, asked Metro to submit further information and hold additional public meetings for the North Corridor because of the change.

Wes Irvin, administrator of communications and congressional affairs for the FTA in Washington, D.C., which helps fund Metro's expansion projects, said the FTA and Metro have been working together to get requested paperwork filed and reviewed so the North Corridor will be built on time.

"From the FTA's point of view, this line is very meritorious and we are working well with Houston Metro," Irvin said. "We are committed."

He said that because of the change to light rail, Metro's original proposal was not ready for approval without being vetted through another process to get the grant agreement signed that allows the FTA to commit money.

That process, Irvin said, appears to be going smoothly.

"We've been given good information from them in the last couple of weeks," Irvin said. "We're getting everything from them that they need and we're working expeditiously from our end. In everything we have asked them for, they have been very responsive.

"Our goal is to keep these projects moving forward."

Nice to hear after all of the wailing and gnashing of teeth that occurred after the FTA's missive to Metro requesting that updated information. Let's hope it stays that way.

By the way, for those interested in the opening of the new Metro office, here's the info:

The community open house is from 1-4 p.m. Saturday at Metro Solutions' newest office, or "store" near three of the five proposed rail lines the Metro board approved last October.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony is at 2 p.m. at the North Corridor Office, 2613 Fulton St. There also will be informational activities, refreshments and goody bags for guests.

The event is part of the liaison effort between Metro and ridership of the proposed 5.4-mile North Corridor.

There you have it.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 11, 2008 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles