Houston Metro begins work on historic transit investment

Nov. 8, 2019
The METRONext Moving Forward Plan includes more miles of bus service, better connections to the airports and new or improved transit centers, among other things.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County is beginning work on METRONext Moving Forward Plan following voter approval of the $3.5 billion bond referendum.

"The voters have made it clear the METRONext Moving Forward Plan gets a green light," said Houston Metro Board Chair Carrin Patman. "From enhanced bus service to faster connections to both airports, voters are ready for 500 miles of transportation transformation."

Houston Metro President and CEO Tom Lambert says the authority is ready to go.

"We've got a plan. We've got a strategy. Now we've got an extra funding source to move forward and we're going to be moving forward to make sure that we deliver for the community," he said.

Houston Metro staff is getting to work on METRONext's list of projects.

"The first thing we started doing this morning was getting together with the planning team, the operations team... all the folks it takes so we are prepared to take the next steps," Lambert said.

The plan also includes 290 miles of BOOST or enhanced bus service plus accessibility and usability improvements for the disabled and seniors, 21 new or improved suburban Park & Rides and transit centers as well as 110 miles of a Regional Express Network with two-way HOV Lanes.

At a news conference, Patman thanked the public for sharing its feedback over the last three years.

"From the beginning, this has been about partnering with the community Metro serves, listening to your needs and providing solutions," Patman said.

That type of community partnership is the cornerstone of the implementation of the Moving Forward Plan. Citizen advisory boards will be set up for each major project corridor. Exact routes will only be finalized after an extensive community involvement process.

"We heard early and often the community wants better connections to the airports. That’s why this plan includes an extension of METRORail to Hobby and 75 miles of new METRORapid bus service, including an extension to Bush Airport," Patman said.

METRO staff will develop a strategy and the board will set the priorities. Some projects. such as new METRORapid service on the Inner Katy Corridor, are at the top of the list because funding is already available. System-wide accessibility improvements to bus stops and sidewalks are already underway.