Both Red- and Purple-Line connections to Hobby Airport made METRO’s latest shortlist of proposed projects around town. They’re indicated above by the blue segment which runs east from the Red Line’s current terminus at Fannin South and past a proposed spur that’d reach up to the Purple Line’s last stop at Palm Center Transit Center. Together with all the proposed bus route upgrades colored orange, they’d cost the agency about $3 billion to build.
That price tag is on the high end of what METRO expects to have in its budget for projects over the next 2 decades: somewhere between $1 billion and $2.8 billion, according to the Chronicle‘s Dug Begley. Planning for the worst case, the agency also released a plan B — which eschews all airport rail connections in the name of frugality:
Faster bus routes — featuring bus-only lanes and relocated stops — appear again in orange.
Both the A and B plans are subsets of a full and much more ambitious proposal dubbed METRONext, a draft of which went public in July. Its cost: $35 billion, more than 11 times the amount of METRO’s best-case budget. But hey, a transit agency can dream, right?
Included are 200 miles of two-way HOV lanes and 90 of bus-only rapid transit lanes.
Rail-wise: a Green Line connection would supplement the Red and Purple extensions out to Hobby. And a long northern addition would wind its way all the up to IAH:
A final version of the METRONext plan is scheduled to go public sometime in the middle of next year.
- Metro’s next transit wish list will be curbed by funding [Houston Chronicle ($)]
- Metro Moves to The Next Step with Its Proposed Regional Transit Plan [Houston Public Media ($)]
- Vision & Moving Forward Plans [METRONext]