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Meet George Greanias

As we know, former City Controller and member of Mayor Parker’s transition team George Greanias has taken over, at least on an interim basis, as the CEO of Metro. Houston Tomorrow has a brief intro to Greanias, including a pointer to this 1997 Houston Press cover story about Greanias’ rocky relationship with then-Mayor Bob Lanier and his own ultimately unsuccessful Mayoral campaign. Of interest is this:

Over the course of [Greanias’ final two terms as Controller], his brief alliance with Lanier devolved into a running confrontation over the mayor’s short-term financial schemes, such as the annual transfer of roughly $55 million from Metro to the general fund and the restructuring of the city’s bond debt.


As controller, Greanias was vocal in his opposition to most of Lanier’s fiscal maneuvers, particularly the decimation of Metro’s $600 million reserve. If elected mayor, Greanias promises to “stop the bleeding” and allow the transit agency to once again start socking away cash for a commuter rail project.

With the approach of a new administration, rail is once again an acceptable topic of discussion, though Lanier still won’t abide the notion that some day it may not be feasible to run even more freeway lanes through Houston. Over time, each of the candidates — while careful not to make any commitments — has at least paid lip service to the notion of exploring rail as a transportation alternative.

But Greanias, for better or worse, has been unequivocal. “For 20 years we’ve been fooling around on this issue, and we’ve gotten no closer to a solution,” he says. “I’m not going to consider it, I’m not going to study it, I’m not going to explore it. I’m going to go about the business of getting it done.”

There were two proposals Greanias was touting at that time, a commuter rail line along the Katy Freeway, and what eventually became the Main Street line. I’m particularly interested in his advocacy of Metro retaining all of its funds, which was something that outgoing CEO Frank Wilson had been pushing and which may be needed to finish construction on all five planned light rail lines. The rest of the story, which mostly focuses on Greanias’s campaign, is a blast from the past and a reminder that some things (and some names) never change, and is worth reading for the history, but given Greanias’s new gig, I thought that was worth pointing out. KUHF had a conversation with Greanias on Wednesday morning as well. Check it out.

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