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Congress signs off on $189 million for Houston light-rail expansion

Congress has appropriated $189 million for the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County's METRORail expansion projects in Houston, authority officials announced yesterday.

METRO officials received word that $94.5 million for METRORail's North/Red Line extension and another $94.5 million for the Southeast/Purple Line have been appropriated, they said in a press release. The funds are part of a $900 million Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) signed in November 2011 with the federal government.

"This is another key development in our progress toward building light rail for Houston," said METRO Chairman Gilbert Garcia.

METRO already has received $523.7 million of the grant proceeds. The agency expects to begin receiving the latest appropriation within the next 30 days.

The funds will be used to complete the 5.3-mile North/Red Line extension, which will connect the current Main Street Line, as well as the 6.6-mile Southeast Line. The Southeast/Purple Line will tie into the Main Street Line, providing new transit options to Texas Southern University and the University of Houston Central Campus.

The North/Red Line is scheduled to open in December, while the Southeast/Purple Line and East End/Green Line will open later in 2014, said Interim President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Lambert.

The remaining $187.3 million of the FFGA is expected be appropriated in 2014.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/13/2013