Feds To Metro: Back off the Spanish Trains and We’ll Fund Your North and Southeast Lines

FEDS TO METRO: BACK OFF THE SPANISH TRAINS AND WE’LL FUND YOUR NORTH AND SOUTHEAST LINES Calling the results of its 4-month-long investigation “both alarming and disturbing,” the Federal Transit Administration scolded Houston’s transit agency for systematically trying to bypass federal rules in the signing of 2 light-rail-vehicle contracts with a Spanish manufacturer. But the violations won’t derail funding for the light rail lines — as long as Metro’s new management team promises to rebid the contract and follow federal “Buy America” rules. A letter from FTA administrator Peter Rogoff said Houston commuters shouldn’t be punished for Metro’s violations: “The Administration still believes that the North and Southeast Corridor projects have merit and we stand behind our Fiscal Year 2011 budget request of $150 million for the two projects.” [FTA]

10 Comment

  • Well hopefully METRO can get its act together. I think these are important transit projects in Houston, and hope to see all five lines built.

  • Glad to hear the FTA is being sensible about the situation and not punishing Houstonians for Metro’s actions.

  • A little help for the Richmond line would be nice. We aren’t all rich over here.

  • If METRO continues to operate the same way, you can kiss the Richmond line good-bye.

  • The “Buy America” rule, huh?

    Protectionism at its best.

  • The Feds are being nice because Metro finally got smart and sacked Frank Wilson.

  • ‘From kjb434:
    If METRO continues to operate the same way, you can kiss the Richmond line good-bye.’

    Then could they at least fix Richmond.

  • yeah, i can’t say richmond is worse than some (see shepherd, the ghetto, etc.) but i’m getting really tired of having speed bumps in the middle of a major thoroughfare, the road is fucked.

    so was this fed money not stimulus money that was supposed to be spent a long time ago? i understand why it’s “buy american” because of the stimulus but with spain in the dumps i imagine it’s a whole hell of a lot less wasted money with buying trains from a foreign supplier. it has to be absolutely retarded to waste money on menial jobs that will disappear the second the stimulus money is gone.

  • also, i always wonder what people think of me swerving around as i drive on richmond to avoid all the bumps.

    fortunately i’ll be having to move far away from richmond once the rail starts to avoid that dumb mess.

  • It’s not that Metro awarded a contract to a Spanish firm. It’s that they seem to have violated very clear and defined Federal RFP guidelines by splitting the contract, post-RFP, in order to get around Buy America requirements.

    It’s not about the validity of Buy America. Or even the validity of light rail funding. It’s about cheating, and it looks like Metro was caught.

    The federal procurement process is very clear. It looks like metro tried to navigate a couple of technicalities to make the budget work, and it blew up in their face.