Get ready for some commuter rail proposals.
A commuter rail study for the Houston area, unveiled Tuesday, recommends starting with five lines -- but none would provide direct service to Sugar Land, The Woodlands or Kingwood, or to Bush and Hobby airports.
Alan Clark, who heads transportation planning for the Houston-Galveston Area Council, where the plan was presented, said conflict with heavy freight rail operations would prevent commuter rail to those destinations in the near future.
But that does not mean the areas cannot be served by light rail or other transit such as dedicated bus lanes, he said.
The commuter rail plan would cost about $3 billion -- although no funding plan was included -- and the trains would share tracks that have light freight traffic, said consultants Sam Lott and Joe Wilhite, of Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc.
The five recommended routes are:
- U.S. 290, with a passenger terminal and maintenance facility near Metro's Northwest Transit Center. This would connect to Metro's planned Uptown light rail line.
- Texas 3 to Galveston
- Texas 249 to Tomball with "back door" service to The Woodlands
- Texas 35 to Pearland
- Almeda Road, later turning west and providing an indirect route to Fort Bend County
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said he will push for commuter trains to start running as soon as possible on the U.S. 290 and Texas 3 routes, even though the overall plan may not be developed yet.