Houston Must Wait for Shrinking Pool of Federal Transit Dollars

If the federal cash doesn't start rolling in soon, the groundbreakings set to begin in 2006 probably will have to be delayed.

Published: 23-Mar-2004

ONG>WASHINGTONTwo obstacles are threatening Metro's ability to implement its aggressive rail-expansion plan: political gridlock over federal transportation spending and competition from dozens of other cities that are ahead of Houston in the line for transit grants.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County needs $420 million in federal funds over the next six years to proceed with the light rail portion of the 22-year "Metro Solutions" plan, which voters adopted in November.

In one of the nation's most ambitious rail-expansion plans, the agency expects to begin building extensions to Northline Mall, the East End, southeast Houston and the Galleria area during the period through 2009.

But, cautions Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas: "With the shrinking pool of money, that's going to be a challenge."



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