New rail lines closer to reality

HOUSTON The Main Street line might finally have some company. The north and south lines, which have been in the works for a long time, are actually scheduled to be under construction next month. It's all because the federal government is slated to give METRO up to $150 million to build those two lines.

While METRO officials are very excited to get this project underway, along the routes where the trains are scheduled to be running soon, opinions are still mixed.

METRO construction for the east end line along Harrisburg has already started. But opinions vary up and down this future light rail corridor.

"I like it," said rail supporter Felipa Cardenas. "I like the idea, because it helps people who don't have transportation to get to work and school."

Cardenas thinks it will benefit her car repair shop. But just down the road we found a different opinion.

Rail opponent Henry Clyde said, "I think it's a waste of the taxpayers' money."

Clyde runs a bus company that will have to chop up its building for the light rail. He's worried about losing lots of business.

"It's going to cause some problems," he said.

METRO is well aware of the on-going controversy, but the organization is already ecstatic because the latest federal budget gives METRO $150 million for construction of both the north and south lines. Ground breaking is set for next month, and METRO's leaders say they want to do everything they can to prove their doubters wrong.

METRO Board Chair David Wolff said, "Things will be happening. The question is, how sensitive are our contractors, how sensitive is METRO, how quickly do we get in and get out. I think we'll surprise people a lot."

METRO officials admitted they made a few mistakes while building the Main Street line. What they plan on doing is having some community input as to how well the contractors are doing. If they are sensitive to the community, they will then get a bonus.

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