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5/3/2005



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

FTA gives go-ahead to Houston METRO for light-rail extension engineering


With Federal Transit Administration (FTA) approval in hand, Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas (METRO) will begin preliminary engineering on the North and Southeast corridor light-rail extensions.

FTA granted approval after reviewing the proposed projects, including ridership potential, travel time savings, air quality benefits, and METRO’s financial ability to build and operate the lines.

METRO plans to complete preliminary engineering in mid-2006. Officials will obtain input from communities and other stakeholders near the corridor to develop the lines’ and stations’ exact locations, and complete an Environmental Impact Statement.

The preliminary engineering process, which will cost about $30 million to complete, will enable METRO officials to develop more specific project cost figures and completion dates.

After preliminary engineering is complete, the agency will seek FTA approval to begin design and apply for a Full Funding Grant Agreement.

The North and Southeast corridors will be the first extensions to the 7.5-mile light-rail line, which opened Jan. 1, 2004. The 5.4-mile North Corridor would run from University of Houston-Downtown to Northline Mall. The 7.1-mile Southeast Corridor would run east-west from downtown to the Loop 610/Griggs area.


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