A Little Encouragement for Houston’s Light-Rail Straggler

A LITTLE ENCOURAGEMENT FOR HOUSTON’S LIGHT-RAIL STRAGGLER Metro’s University Line has passed its final environmental review, the transit agency announced today. “The approval in the form of a federal Record of Decision allows Metro to go forward with utility coordination, design and pre-construction planning along the 11.3-mile route, some of which will run along Richmond Avenue from roughly Main to Cummins streets.” [River Oaks Examiner]

49 Comment

  • I guess this means Metro will soon be making their “take it or leave it” offers to the landowners along Richmond?

    The eminent domain attorneys will probably do very well off this.

  • At least they’re not taking whole blocks of neighborhoods like when they built 59.

  • I still think light rail is a dumb idea in Houston. The city residential and commercial areas are way too spread out to make rail useful and the climate is too hot even if you have to walk 1 block from a rail station.

  • That’s what she said

  • Thank you, Feds. Seems like this wasn’t going to happen till Metro got rid of that carpetbagger, Frank Wilson. Still can’t understand how Metro could have had a CEO who didn’t even live in Houston?!?

  • I am still waiting to see how hey are ging to make the “turn” @ Cummins off of Richmond…

  • I LOVE the rail. I find it so much easier to hop on the train rather than deal with traffic between the med center and downtown, I look forward to more lines in the city.

  • I think rail makes sense — and gets used — when it provides a faster alternative to driving your car or riding the bus. Cities that were largely platted before the automobile are great candidates. New York and London come to mind. There is no doubt that using the subway is more convenient than maintaining and taking your own car somewhere in Manhattan. But I live 3 blocks from this line in Montrose and if I want to go to the Galleria, I guarantee the door to door time is a hell of a lot faster in my car.

    I’m not saying it’s not a nice alternative to the bus, but it’s hard to see the incentive to getting someone out of their car.

  • Cap’n- You aren’t the target audience of the University Line in particular or the light rail in general.

    These starter lines are just that; starter lines. They are trying to connect major employment centers (started with downtown and the tmc) but will now add the ship channel, UH, TSU, Rice, UST, Greenway Plaza, and Uptown).

    Once all of these major central employment centers are connected, only then does commuter rail become a viable option to add to the system.

  • hopefully it works well for others, but i’d be living right next to it (in theory, i’ll have to pack up and move right before construction starts on it because i don’t work in downtown or uptown) and the only time i can figure when i’d take it is to go do something at reliant stadium.

    since this will impact richmond being a major thoroughfare, hopefully they’ll adjust the lights at alabama for north/south traffic to get to westheimer so that it doesn’t take 5mins just to go 2 blocks. alabama isn’t a good replacement for the traffic due to the left-turn restrictions at montrose and shepherd. it’ll be a good time to finally make bissonet a 4-lane street though.

  • Wholesale waste of taxpayer dollars. The city could have an immense amount of state of the art buses catering to just about everyone in every nook of the city for a fraction of what it’ll take to fund construction and maintenance of light rail in Houston. ALL of the projected costs put forth by that bastion of honesty, Metreaux are vastly underestimated.

  • University Line = Good, responsible development
    Walmart on Yale = Bad, irresponsible development

  • Making Bissonet four lanes? Good god, combine that with the Ashy High Rise and we’d never hear the end of it. Bring on the fun!

  • I don’t know about yall but I lived in Houston 20 years and there’s not a place I can’t get to within 30 minutes even in the worst traffic times.

  • that’s the thing, these rails are only useful during rush hour traffic and that’s it. what’s the expected revenue off these and how long will it take that revenue to recover the construction costs?

    there’s so many variables at play that it could wind up costing us taxpayers a fortune. i’d love to get a piece of the fortune developers will make off the redevelopment though. it’d be nice to see if any of our city council/metro board now owns property along this corridor.

  • Joel,
    You can go to the Harris County Clerk’s web site and search by name to satisfy your curiousity. It gets a little tricky figuring out where the parcels are but there is a reference to the neighborhood and block and lot numbers. No actual addresses though.

    Of course, if there are business names involved, it’s a whole different ball game.

  • This is going to be a disaster for mobility inside the Loop. People will only ride Metro if it is the fastest, cheapest or only option. For everyone with a car, that means almost never. In the mean time we’re handing over Richmond’s vehicular traffic lanes, a very precious asset.

    The train simply will not be a viable option for 99% of the cars currently on Richmond. Where will all these drivers go? Alabama? Bissonnet?

    This is a bad, bad thing for Houston.

  • From Sid:
    Making Bissonet four lanes? Good god, combine that with the Ashy High Rise and we’d never hear the end of it. Bring on the fun!

    Actually they should widen Ashby while they’re at it and put in a light at Bissonnet. That would take care of the “traffic impact problem” and also provide easier access to Rice University from Bissonnet. Maybe run a trolley bus up Ashby and Dunlavy to Richmond. After all, it is the University line. Rice University should be served as well, don’t you think?

  • From Irfan:
    “University Line = Good, responsible development
    Walmart on Yale = Bad, irresponsible development”

    Presumably if they added a light rail stop at the new Walmart it would become good responsible development then.

  • @ Jimbo

    As long as they take out the big huge parking lot from the design and put a multi-story Walmart with garage and a development that encourages mass transit and pedestrian use while the rest of the area is used as park land, I could be okay with it. Oh, close at midnight. Overnight supercenter in in the middle a neighborhood is a deal breaker :)

  • ….the sructure must be powered by passive solar capture and wind energy.

  • The ones against the rail are a bunch of suburbians complaining about a longer commute.

    Metro rail provides a CHEAPER, more efficient, and environmentally friendly mode of transportation for those living in the city. We need to start caring about our environment and the air we breathe in.
    Frankly, I’m extremely excited. It will really revitalize the southwest area of town bringing it back to it’s glory days.

  • Robert, buses are cheaper and more efficient than light rail. In addition bus routes can be altered to meet the needs of those who requre mass transit, i.e. people who cannot afford private transportation. Metro should focus on providing mass transit for the population that needs it. Not on those who want a cool looking train to take them to Reliant stadium and the Med Center from their downtown loft condo. Yes that is a sarcastic quip but the point is they should focus on the mass of mass transit.

    Also, Metro should not be used to “revitalize” a particular geographic location for the sole benefit of those property owners.

  • Norhill,

    Without any empirical data that suggests buses are a more efficient mode of travel, your argument is completely false. There is no comparison, I can get from uh downtown to the astrodome way faster than I could with a bus. Reason being, light rail doesn’t need to wait for a light to change from red to green.
    The proposed University Line will be the best thing to happen to Houston in a long time.

    Also don’t forget the environment, the rail has an extremely small impact in comparison to a bus or traveling by vehicle. I want me grandchildren to be able to breathe in clean air, 50 years from now.

  • Robert, Buses are more efficient because they cost less per rider and routes can be altered to meet demand. Metro has lost ridership because they cut bus service so they could pay for light rail. The per rider subsidy for light rail is much higher than for bus travel. There are numerous studies available for various cities across the US that demonstrate that fact. Houston is no different.

    You cite how you enjoy riding the rail from downtown to Reliant/Astrodome. I agree it may be convenient for those attending a Texans game or the rodeo. For those who cannot afford private vehicles(let alone tickets to the Texans)there is a critical need for mass transportation that can take them throughout the city. Critical as in their employment, medical services, grocery shopping, etc.

    What I am advocating is spending our transit dollars wisely and for the benefit of those who truely need mass transit. For more information about bus/rail issue see the Houston Strategies blog authored by Troy Gattis. He has mumerous execellent posts with additional links.

  • @Irfan

    Parkland, really? Why is there this obsession with expecting private landowners to convert their property into parkland. I think we should ask all owners of single storey homes in the Houston area to rebuild as a 4 storey townhome whith parking in the ground floor and convert the remaining space to parkland. Would that improve our environment? Besides if they built up people would just complain that the store is too tall.

  • Norhill, I can tell you from experience of riding buses that rail is FAR SUPERIOR. I ride the buses all over the city, and it sucks when the bus is supposed to come every 10 min (as per the schedule on the bus stop) and the bus doesn’t come for 50 minutes because it was stopped by a train or something. Buses are unreliable, I’ve been on buses that have broken down, stuck on the side of the road for almost an hour. Buses are almost never on time. METRO has bought some new buses but most of METRO’s buses are so old you cant even read the route number, the AC breaks, if the bus is ahead of schedule, the driver just stops for 10 min, sometimes the drivers pull over and go to a gas station/Ninfa’s as we wait for 15 min. I have NEVER had any of these problems on the rail. Having a bus only mass transit system does not work. In order for a city to have a good transit system, a core rail system is essential. Houston had it’s chance at heavy rail in 1983 but voters turned it down, so for now we are stuck with the second best thing, light rail. Hopefully in the future we will have some heavy rail lines. Traffic in this city (which has the lowest density of the top 5 cities in the US) is horrible, and will only get worse as there are denser developments being built. The University Line will not take away lanes from Richmond, it will still be a 4 lane street (check the engineering drawings at metros website) sometimes having a good transit system is not about being financially efficient, but providing the best service. EVERY transportation system highways, airports, and trains are ALL subsidized your “private bus” scenario is unrealistic Houston’s transit system was all buses before the Red line opened and it was one of the worst in the contry (obviously the worst out of the top 5 cities). I cannot think of a good transit system without any type of rail.

  • From mfastx:
    Norhill, I can tell you from experience of riding buses that rail is FAR SUPERIOR.

    That may be but reality is that rail so far is not serving the people who need mass transit the most. It is, however, serving the developers. And that is the problem with Metro. It doesn’t serve the people it was created to serve.

  • mfastx, nowhere in my previous posts have I mentioned or inferred a ‘private bus scenario’. Whatever that is. I am referring to mass transit options from Houston Metro.

    I agree that public transportation is subsidized in some fashion. I do disagree with your statement that a ‘good transit system is not about being financially efficient, but providing the best service.’ A good transit system should do both.

    From your statements I can tell you enjoy riding the light rail. But providing the ‘best service’ should be about efficient transportion for the working poor who cannot afford a private vehicle. Not for a small fraction of the Metro customers who benifit from riding the light rail from downtown to Reliant stadium.

    For a city that elects “progressive’ mayors I am always surprised by the indifference it shows to the needs of it’s working poor.

  • matt mystery,

    Go back to your suburbs. Inner city Houston needs to be revitalized, in this case development is a good thing, we can’t continue to have this suburban sprawl for ever, it will lead to some major environmental impacts. Metro Rail is the best thing to happen to the city in a long time and I hope and pray the University Line does happen.

    Metro Rail is only the beginning, it’s the foundation for the actual commuter rail that will serve the mass transit needs of all of Houston.

  • Matt Mystery, who exactly needs it the most? The University line is not the only line being built, there are lines being built to the north, east, and southeast side. I don’t see any developers scrambling to build on the north, east or southeast sides of town. This Uinversity line is connecting employment centers, the same as the Red Line (which is a good line IMO). How would you make the transit system serve “the people that need it the most?”

    NorhillJoe, I apologize for accusing you of proposing a “private bus scenario,” I must have gotten your comment mixed up with someone else. I think with the new lines METRO is building, it will still be more efficient, hell it’s already more efficient than it was before the Red Line was built, when there was just buses. With a bus only transit system, farebox recovery was in the teens. METRO is building three lines to the “working poor” of the north, east, and southeast sides of town. The University Line is not the only one they are building. I ride the Red Line alot, and I’ve only used it to go to Reliant Stadium only once, in fact, Reliant Stadium is one of the least used transit stations, and from personal experience, people are taking it to downtown and the medical center; the Red Line is quite well used. Three fifths of the new METRORail system is serving the “working poor.”

  • i believe the comments regarding “servicing those who most need it” is in reference to the cutbacks metro will have to make in order to fund the construction of all these lines. yes, many will have a better transit option but light rail is not servicing anyone new, just replacing the buses. however, many folks will have their transportation impacted by the cuts in service due to light rail funding though which calls into question the intentions of metro. being that it’s tax-subsidized, many would like to see it primarily provide for the most needy but that is certainly far from the intent of these light rail lines. it’s important to keep this in mind though because as metro begins to hunkers down inside the loop, more low-income areas are getting pushed further away from the inner-loop.

    the rail should not be seen as an environmental improvement though. i doubt the efficiency of rail could ever offset more fuel efficient buses just due to the sheer amount of construction that is needed to place at-grade rail alone. when you also have to account for the fact that the rail will take priority and increase the number of stops required by all vehicular traffic along with restricting the amount of left turns, i imagine this will far surpass the pollution from the regular old bus option.

  • For what it’s worth, here’s a link to a Cato study on various rail-based transit systems:

    By most meaningful objective metrics (fare-box recovery, total ridership, cost-effectiveness) rail transit comes out pretty poorly.
    In Houston, light rail recovers only 1/3 of its operating costs at the fare box.

  • Angostura, light rail may only come out to cover 1/3 of its operating costs, but before METRO opened it’s light rail, it recovered <20% of it’s operating costs, and that’s with a bus only transit system. So yes, light rail covers more of it’s operating costs than 1,000 buses. Sure, maybe of those buses were full it would cover more of they’re operating costs than the light rail, but there’s a reason the buses aren’t full: bus service is unreliable, and it’s slower.

  • so based on that it seems to me that houstonians have to expect an increase in sales taxes to cover the construction costs or a massive reduction in Metro’s services (which hopefully houstonians would be smart enough to reject and demand privatization). i just don’t like the idea of having to pay more for a service that is still useless to me and most others (i have to commute outbound to the energy corridor so i’ll refrain from saying anything about smarter alternatives and more bang for our buck than these rail lines, but there are at least other options).

    where is the money to build these lines coming from besides the national debt?

  • joel, METRO doesn’t even get all of it’s 1 cent sales tax, so before an increase in sales taxes, hopefully METRO will get their whole 1 cent sales tax, which would mean an extra hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Right now, 25% of METRO’s sales tax goes to… wait for it… building Harris County roads. I also read somewhere that another 25% of the 1 cent sales tax goes to education, meaning that METRO only gets 50% of it’s 1 cent sales tax, but I’m not 100% sure on that. Either way, METRO should get their full sales tax, and that would help pay for a lot of things.

  • 1. Increased density is undeniable inside the loop.

    2. Isn’t it fun watching Metro busses try to make turns on teeny inner-city streets?

    3. We need both; we’re already behind on both.

    4. A national immigration policy would, incidently also be very helpful to Houston.

    5. Remember, metro Houston added 2 million people over the last ten years. I don’t see that ending soon.

    6. Paying to park nearly everywhere (getting there quickly) will make other options MUCH more palatable and increase ridership/recovery. Absolutely inevitable, given the demographics.
    7. There will be no other options.

  • I live a block off of Richmond. I was initially in favor of the University Line, but I’ve changed my mind. I’ve lost faith that the city will manage to mitigate the effect on car traffic. I think this will vastly increase cut-through traffic in my neighborhood (already awful), since drivers won’t wait 30 seconds at an intersection when they can zoom down my residential street at 45 mph instead (posted 20 mph).

    Did you know that the initial light rail line cost $250 million for seven miles? That’s 30 dollars per millimeter. Expect 50 bucks per millimeter this time around.
    Thank the Spaghetti Monster above that the Feds can pony up money for projects that benefit the elite, and make little economic sense! Otherwise, the University line could never get built.
    I’m dead sure that that the stated cost of this line has been low-balled. It always is. For this kind of money, we could have world-class bus service. Imagine if instead of light rail, we had dedicated CNG bus lanes up and down Main? Maybe that would only (only?!) have cost $50 million. I think I remember reading that the light rail trains travel at an average overall speed of 17 mph. I should look at the timetable to verify.
    I live near Greenway Plaza and I work in the Medical Center. At 6:30 in the morning, from my house to the parking garage is 8 minutes, reliably. Coming home is 15 minutes, more or less. By bus/bus or bus/rail either way is 35 minutes, much of which I would spend waiting outside. Let’s say 200 work days per year, 45 extra minute per day = 150 hours spent in transit = 3 weeks of work for me spent on the bus.
    Car wins by a landslide. For me, anyhow. Your mileage may vary.

  • Per lightrailnow.org, from 2003:

    “Since MetroRail LRT trains will be operating at street level, they won’t travel faster than the posted speed limit, resulting in an average speed, including stops, of about 17 mph.”

    They cite an average bus speed (remember that these were light rail boosters) of 10 mph.
    17 mph ain’t much to crow about. That’s 50% faster than a world-class marathoner. Awesome. Now add on walking to your bus/rail stop, waiting to transfer, then walking to work. By the time you get to the parking garage, you’ll be lucky to average 10 mph for the entire trip. But at least you’ll have made your journey in a space-age train!
    Going to work in the morning, I average (including stops, depending on timing of lights) about 40 mph in the mornings – hop on 59, shoot down Main. That’s why I bought where I did.

  • From ridemetro.org, the travel time from UH-Downtown to Reliant Park is 28 minutes.
    Yahoo maps says the distance covered is 6.7 miles if I drag the little handles to make the route match the actual rail route.
    Calculator says that 6.7 miles in 28 minutes is 14.4 mph. Haile Gebrselassie can do a marathon averaging 12.7 mph. Congratulations light rail – you are almost 14% faster than running.

  • OK, last post on this issue. I swear.
    I am not a libertarian, nor a crank. It’s just that the more taxes I pay, the more I wonder where they’re going, and who benefits from them.
    From reason.org: “In a news release in early 2005, the Federal Transit Administration provided figures on nine light rail projects for which it had approved “full funding grant agreements.” The cost per mile ranged from a low of $44.5 million (Charlotte) to a high of $254 million (Pittsburgh). The average of these—and these are costs as of five years ago—was $124 million per mile.”
    Just to break it down into concrete terms: Five years ago, the Feds admitted that light rail AS BUILT, not as rosily projected, cost an average of $1957 per INCH!

  • El Kabong, 250 million was very cheap. To compare, widening the Katy freeway for a few extra lanes costs $2.8 billion. To add 40,000 cars per day, that was much less efficient than building the light rail, which added about 20,000 new transit riders per day (around 45,000 total). How is the University line benefitting the elite? These are public transit riders, the elite driver their cars. The University line is not the only line getting built, there are other lines in “less elite” neighborhoods. Of couse the cost has been low-balled right now. When construction costs balloon over time, the more people fight it, the more it will cost because of natural inflation. The Katy freeway was massively low-balled, as it was supposed to cost $1 billion less than it ended up being. There is no such thing as a world class bus service. Every world class transit system involves rail, why? Because rail is more reliable, faster, moves more people, and comes more frequently, and doesn’t compete with vehicular traffic. Making the Red Line BRT would cost a hell of a lot more than $50 million, and yes, the Red Line has an average speed of 17 mph. To compare my personal vehicle has an average speed (driving in city streets) of about 23 mph (it says on my dash). In Houston, the car would be faster in most cases, the point of public transit is for people who would like to save money on gasoline, and/or live a cheaper life without a car. In almost every city (except the most dense ones like New York, Boston, and Washington DC) the personal vehicle will be faster, because it gets you from point to point without any transfer points. But what if one doesn’t want to pay for parking? Parking in the TMC is quite expensive, and if you don’t work there, you’d have to pay for it yourself. Of course light rail isn’t the fastest rail transit, we could have had a fully grade seperated heavy rail, but residents voted that down in 1983, yet another shot at grade seperated (faster) light rail in 1990, but Lanier killed it. So we are stuck with cheap light rail until transit gets more popular here. Surprised you average 40 mph, as stated before, I only average 22-23 mph driving in the city. But do you think that in 50 years people will still “breeze” your way through the city center? Remember we have to build for the future, things will change, the inner loop will get much denser. (In other words, there will be gridlock if everyone still drives their cars like they do now) The percentage of taxes you (and I) are paying that go to rail is FAR LESS than the federally subsidized highways (50% subsidized) and airports (mostly subsidized new terminals payed for by the city, which obviously gets its money from taxpayer dollars). No matter how many scenarios (cost per inch, etc.) you cite, the Red Line was much cheaper (per inch, millimeter, etc.) than the Katy Freeway expansion. 2.8 billion not to build a new freeway, but to add 40,000 cars a day. 2.8 billion to add 40,000 cars comes out to… 70,000 dollars per car, and most of those cars only have 1 person going to work. Transit is expensive, and every type of transit, rail, highway, street, sidewalk, airport) is one way or another federally funded.

  • Interesting points. I’m having trouble finding a total cost figure for the light rail project – it appears to be north of $300 million. Perhaps as much as $430 million: http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=2017
    . This is in line with the findings of Flyvbjerg et al, who found that on average, rail projects were appx 45% more expensive than their initial stated cost. I believe the announced cost of the Red Line was $300 million before ground was broken. $300 million x 1.45 = $435 million. Spooky.
    You may be right about there being no such thing as a world-class bus system, but I doubt it. You really don’t think we would have better bus service if we had spent only $100 million improving it?
    w/r/t my particular commute, it is an aberration – I start work at 6:30 in the morning, and there is rarely congestion at that time. I deal with few stoplights.
    The average speed of the Red Line is NOT 17 mph. According to Metro’s own timetable, the average speed for the entire route is 14.4 mph – you can see above how I calculated it. The figure of 17mph was thrown around pre-construction, but it is wrong. By way of comparison, MTA’s Richmond bus line, from Wheeler Station to Richmond/Walnut Bend Lane averages 13.4 mph at rush hour. In the evening, it averages 14.5 mph.
    Per passenger mile, rail and bus cost about the same, but vanpool wins hands down – it’s about 85% cheaper than both of them – see http://www.ntdprogram.gov/ntdprogram/pubs/profiles/2008/agency_profiles/6008.pdf.

    Of course, operating a car is hugely expensive, compared to taking the light rail or the bus. I’ve made the cost/benefit analysis that the incremental cost of driving to work versus taking public transit is closer to $3000/year, since I would own a car regardless. I do pay for my own parking. For me, the car wins. For others, public transport wins.

    I think widening the Katy freeway was probably a bad idea. Why should we subsidize increased sprawl? Those lanes will inevitably fill up – just ask people who bought in Pearland 10 years ago how their commute has changed.
    The University Line may ALSO be a bad idea. Those who spend OPM often have more than one bad idea!

  • I believe the Red Line’s actual cost was about $300 million, but I don’t know what it was expected to cost. The cost was according to this blog: http://www.ctchouston.org/intermodality/2009/12/31/a-decade-of-megaprojects-and-hints-of-the-future/

    BTW, we ARE spending at least $100 million a year improving our bus system by buying new hybrid buses, (which I’m very happy about, on most of those old buses you can’t even read the route number). Other than buying new buses, there’s really not much you can do to improve the system, it’s really as good as it’s gonna get as far as our bus system goes.

    I used to ride the Richmond Line daily and can tell you that the schedule/average speed figure you’ve calculated can be misleading. This includes the far western, less congested stretch or Richmond, and doesn’t take into account that most of the time the buses are far from on time, for example I’d wait about 50 minutes at the bus stop because of, say, a train crossing a few miles down the road. Then you have about three or four buses in a row, which really screws up the schedule. I don’t necessarily think widening the Katy freeway was a bad idea, I would just like to see the same amount of federal money going towards a transit system, so we won’t have to keep widening the freeway. For example, the heavy rail/subway plan (think Washington DC) that was voted down in 1983 cost about 1.2 billion. People are against spending for rail, but don’t think twice when we spend 2.8 billion on widening a freeway. Also, if we had built that line, average speeds would be much higher than 14 mph. If this were anywhere else but Houston, I would not really be for the University line as it will be constructed. I would like to see a heavy rail/subway or grade seperated light rail instead. But Houstonians have voted down those other two options. Maybe in some time, Houstonians will see how valuable transit is, and vote to convert it to a subway. Just look at Washington, DC. Before it was built, most people hated the idea of a subway, but now, everyone relies on it. In Boston, when leaders proposed to move a light rail route over a few blocks, citizens were outraged that the light rail would be a few blocks further away from them. Baby steps. Baby steps.

  • Interesting – your link makes the claim that the Red Line has the highest number of boardings per mile in the U.S.
    In fact, nationally it has the second-highest boardings/mile (4,680 vs Boston’s 8,257), but it IS head and shoulders above the rest of the list. Way higher than I would have expected – clearly the Red Line is more popular than I figured.
    (just BTW, Monterrey, MX has upwards of 15,000 boardings/mile!).
    What is the theoretical maximum capacity of the Red Line – any idea?

  • El K, well the record number of boardings in a day for the Red Line is about 64,000, so I assume it would be about as much. METRO says they have plans to somehow “increase capacity” on the Red Line by improving infrastcuture, but I don’t see how they could do that without adding more trains.

    BTW, I also noticed that METRO’s website fibbed a little on the ridership per mile numbers, tsk tsk.

  • We need rail, everywhere in the inner loop to make this a more enjoybale, much better city overal. This place has wayyyy to many people to not offer such a basic service, its really rediculous, and to all of those against it, there are plenty of suburbs outside the inner loop where you can gladly live without rail, let us have our inner city, you can have your suburbs, and about you paying for something you don’t use? I will never use the katy freeway, or pretty much any houston freeway except 288 south and 610. Yet we have you pay for your freeways which cost much more than this rail system and will service more people in a smaller area.

  • And to all the bus supporters saying that bus service can be moved to accomodate the needs of the city vs rail which is fixed this is something to think about. When you have bus service the city is at the mercy of the populatin trends, and urban sprawl, wherever the people move so does the city have to create roads and offer bus service to meet that population trend. However in cities with good comprehensive rail systems the city naturaly builds around the rail, therefore the city isn’t constantly having to update its infrastructure to accomodate where the latest developments have taken place. Instead the developments come to the public transit.

  • I would imagine that this statement:
    “However in cities with good comprehensive rail systems the city naturaly builds around the rail, ”

    is subject to debate. Undeniably, bus routes can be changed without a massive capital investment.