Mayor Whitmire appoints a new Metro Chair

Congratulations and welcome aboard.

Mayor John Whitmire on Tuesday announced CenterPoint Energy executive Elizabeth Brock would lead the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s board of directors. If approved, Brock would be the first Hispanic woman to lead the transit agency.

“She brings a ‘customer first’ mindset, which is exactly the thinking our community deserves,” Whitmire said in a release announcing the choice. “Safety and reliability are key for all who depend on or commute alongside public transportation. I am confident that Elizabeth will use her results-driven expertise to drive Metro to deliver a user-friendly and fiscally responsible transit system to all. She understands that my priority is providing mobility options for all Houstonians.”

Brock’s appointment as Metro chair is pending approval of the City Council, as well as Metro’s board, which typically accepts the mayor’s choice. She replaces Sanjay Ramabhadran, who served as Metro chairman for two years and as a board member for nearly eight, during which the agency started work on the first projects of its $7.5 billion long-range plan.


Metro is working with the Federal Transit Administration to finalize its final route and secure environmental approvals for the 25-mile University Corridor bus rapid transit, as well as a $600 million planned BRT line within Loop 610 along Interstate 10.

Much of that progress will be up to Brock and potentially additional new Metro members. As mayor, Whitmire appoints five of the nine members of the Metro board, including naming his preference for chairperson. Tuesday’s announcement only named Brock, leaving the other members in place.

Compared to Turner, who championed transit investment as part of what he called a “paradigm shift” in mobility across the city, Whitmire has been critical of Metro’s recent performance.

In his address after being ceremonially sworn in as mayor, Whitmire blamed Metro for road conditions because “buses tear up streets.” Metro devotes about 20% of its revenue from the 1-cent sales tax it receives to street repairs, as part of the voter-approved general mobility program.

Whitmire has also questioned the rush to some designs. At campaign forums prior to his election, he questioned the immense cost of some Metro projects, relative to Houston’s low transit ridership, and noted that all agencies must heed residents’ concerns about lack of street access and loss of private property.

“The public supports infrastructure,” Whitmire said after a forum on Nov. 15. “But everybody, including Metro, needs to level with them and be transparent about what is going on with some of these plans.”

I don’t know anything about Ms. Brock other than what is in this story, so I don’t have much to say beyond “congratulations and welcome”. I haven’t see much of a reaction from the transit and mobility folks as yet, just this “welcome and let’s work together” statement from LINK Houston. Better than anything oppositional, but it doesn’t give me much to work with. There is as the story notes a bit of apprehension in this community, as well as some words of warning from Harris County and a “don’t mess things up” editorial from the Chron, so it will be nice to get some clarity from the new Chair. Until then, we presume and hope for the best.

Related Posts:

This entry was posted in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Mayor Whitmire appoints a new Metro Chair

  1. Pingback: The Houston Avenue hullabaloo | Off the Kuff

Comments are closed.