Wolff speaks about Metro

Here’s Metro board chair David Wolff giving a state of the system address in the op-ed pages. I suppose it’s a counter, if not a response to Bill King’s piece from two weeks ago; it offers a defense of the current fare structure, at least. For all the complaining I’ve done lately about the slow pace of getting the new lines built, we are making progress and we can start to visualize what we’ll soon have, and from there what we can have next. I’ll feel better once the last two lines are nailed down and construction has started, but for now it’s good to be reminded that we’ve come a long way.

One point to add:

One of the most gratifying learning experiences for me has been sensing the enthusiasm and commitment to public transportation improvements among our younger generation. I have yet to meet any Houstonian under 40 who questions the priority of mass transit. They “get it.” They have experienced other cities — New York, San Francisco, London, etc. — and know that we cannot have a metropolitan area heading toward 6 million people (and perhaps more) in their lifetime without excellent public transit.

I’m pretty sure at least one of the usual suspects of the Metro Haters Club is still on the low side of 40, but I do think we’ve seen a shift in attitude over the past few years. Nobody argues with any credibility any more that light rail can’t work in Houston. They may carp about “at grade” rail, or complain about other things at the margins, but the success of the Main Street line stands on its own. That gives me hope that when we finally do start talking about the next expansion the argument will be primarily over where it should be, and not whether we should do it at all.

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