Metro officially fails to follow through on the Universities Line


What was promised…

Transit officials received a busload of criticism Thursday for the decision to pause the long-planned east-west spine of rapid transit in the region, with some critics questioning whether the decision was an attempt to kill the line altogether.

“I know you said it is a pause but it feels like a cancelation,” Mitchell Walker told the Metropolitan Transit Authority board. “It looks like indefinitely postponing it.”

Metro staff, citing budget forecasts for the next five years, recommended pausing development of the 25.3-mile University Corridor and not continuing the Federal Transit Administration process to seek federal funding at this time.

Officials said they could re-engage with FTA later, but planning, building and operating the line – estimated to cost $2.2 billion – is not prudent when Metro has various other priorities.

Metro board members, despite calls for a formal vote, only accepted the staff’s analysis and did not approve not proceeding. No vote was required to shelve the project.

Metro chair Elizabeth Brock defended the decision to delay the project, but conceded transit officials need to improve their community outreach.

“This deadline came up on us very quickly,” Brock said, noting that six of Metro’s nine board members – including herself – were sworn in this year.

“We need to go on a communication tour,” Brock said. “There were promises made and now we are going in a different direction and we can say why that is.”

See here for the previous entry. We are still being gaslit here – surely the previous Metro Board had the paperwork for this grant ready to go, and if this did in fact catch the new Board by surprise, it just adds to the list of reasons why they’re a bunch of incompetents. This was a long week and I need to decompress a little, so I will just say that I never thought I would see the day when the Metro Board was the single biggest obstacle to better public transit in Houston. Even the Board under David Wolff didn’t do this kind of damage, and the sins they committed were of ambition and cutting corners; the Gilbert Garcia Board got things going again with no lasting harm done. Their lack of vision is pathetic and not worthy of our city. Houston Landing has more, as does this Twitter thread, which documents the public feedback the Board received.

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