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8/19/2009



Rail News: Passenger Rail

Houston's Metro gains FTA approval to design two light-rail lines


The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) recently gave the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas (Metro) the green light to begin final design on the North and Southeast Corridor light-rail lines — the last prerequisite to enter into federal Full Funding Grant Agreements for both lines.

The approval authorizes Metro to undertake various pre-construction activities, such as utility relocation, right-of-way acquisition, and preparation of detailed specifications and final construction plans.

The FTA noted that the transit agency has “adequately defined the North and Southeast Corridor’s project scope, cost estimate, schedule and potential risk areas,” according to a statement issued by Metro. The agency also demonstrated the technical capacity and capability to construct and implement the projects, and has sufficient technical and management resources to begin final design, according to the FTA.

Last month, Metro issued a $121 million work order to the Houston Rapid Transit Joint Venture comprising Parsons Transportation Group Inc., Granite Construction Co., Kiewit Texas Construction L.P., and Stacy and Witbeck for the North and Southeast lines, including initial utility relocation work. The work order is part of a larger $632 million contract for initial spending on the North, Southeast and East End light-rail lines. Metro plans to build four new light-rail lines in the Houston area totaling about 20 miles.


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