METRO pushes back on University Corridor Project, saying cost would impact day-to-day operations

KTRK logo
Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Tap for ABC13 Houston 24/7 Live Stream
Watch Eyewitness News and ABC13 originals around the clock

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston METRO said it's not moving forward with its University Corridor Project.

The route would connect the University of Houston and Texas Southern University to the Westchase Park & Ride, and buses would travel in their own lanes.

According to ABC13's news partners at the Houston Chronicle, the project would have cost approximately $2.2 billion, which was planned to come from federal funds.

METRO said the financial estimates from 2019 were "aspirational," adding that COVID-19 reduced ridership and increased costs. Officials said these variables were not calculated when the project was first proposed.

RELATED: METRO postpones vote on University Corridor alignment following community pushback

The transportation agency said the project's cost would impact other plans and day-to-day operations.

According to METRO, it would limit public safety, bus frequency, bus and train cleanliness, improved bus shelters, and enhanced sidewalks and roadways due to the federal grant's inability to cover the estimated $1.5 billion liability.

"METRO's decision to not proceed with the federal grant process at this time is based upon the need to prioritize improved customer and community essential services and will better position the Authority to increase overall system ridership," METRO Chair Elizabeth González Brock said.

Former Mayor Sylvester Turner criticized METRO's decision, calling it a "major setback to public transit for Houston" and a "huge blow."

The agency said it would move forward with other developmental plans, such as the Gulfton Transit and Revitalization Project.

SEE ALSO: How will Houston's growing population fare with public transit? New METRO board to address problem

The City of Houston is expected to nominate four new board members to METRO this week who will have a significant say in the future of the area's public transit.