What comes after the Metro referendum

I hope you found my series of interviews on the Metro referendum to be useful. I think there’s plenty in those four interviews to bolster your support of or opposition to the referendum. The referendum question is simple – do we or do we not want to continue the General Mobility Program? but the issue is complex, and I could probably do at least one more week’s worth of these without exhausting the subject. But at some point you have to make a decision. I said several weeks ago that I intended to vote for the referendum, and I am still going to vote for it, but I have to say I definitely understand the opposition’s perspective a lot better now.

The one thing I believe now that I hadn’t thought about before I began this process is that in a sense it doesn’t matter what happens with the referendum. Pass or fail, it’s just a step along the way towards the region’s transportation future, and pass or fail it’s up to all of us to work to make that the best it can be. Going forward, the main thing I want to see is better cooperation and coordination among the stakeholders on transit and transportation. Getting the University line built will benefit the entire region. It’s high time all of our local officials recognized that, and stopped tolerating the shenanigans of certain members of Congress who have so tirelessly worked against the region’s interests on this. The city and the county should work with Metro to do what they can to help facilitate University Line construction. David Crossley made the point that the city could help pay for the road and utility work that will need to be done for this, as that will reduce Metro’s total cost and make them that much less dependent on federal funding. I say Harris County can and should contribute in a similar fashion. Commissioner Radack may believe that rail lines are more expensive than they’re worth, but a significant portion of the University Line – and the Uptown Line for that matter – runs through Precinct 3, and I know if he were to ask the business interests in the affected areas, they’d tell him how much they want this built. Surely the parts of his precinct that are inside the city limits deserve as much attention paid to their mobility needs as those out near Hockley. Having those lines in place will make any future commuter or passenger rail line along 290 that much more valuable as well. We’re all in this together, and it’s way past time for us to act like it. Whatever the fate of the referendum, and however you vote on it, this is what we need to be working towards.

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