MetroRail East End and Southeast light rail lines open

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The Transit Authority is celebrating the opening of the green and purple rail lines which service the east and southeast sides (KTRK)

After several years of planning and construction, a few bumps in the road, and $1.4 billion in cost, Houston Metro launched its latest leg of MetroRail lines.

Color-codes such as purple and green are used for the rail, the Harrisburg and Southeast lines add several more miles of light rail service in the city's core.

MetroRail was launched with the Main Street line a decade ago, which saw the closing of businesses there during construction.

The system tripled its service area when the North line began operating last year, going from 7 to 22 miles.

The Harrisburg line runs past BBVA Compass Stadium where there was a "RailFest" this evening, celebrating the milestone.

For East End resident Jessica Aguilar, it's a way for her to travel downtown and to school. "I'm glad they built it here," she said referring to her neighborhood, which sits along the line.

In Third Ward, served by the southeast line, it's a way for people whose transportation is public to go beyond their neighborhood, to downtown, the medical center, or to sports events without having to take several buses to reach their destination.

Rail ridership has increased to some 12 million boardings a year, but agency spokesman Jerome Gray says it will never be supported by fairs alone. Sales tax provides operating revenue and federal money has paid for much of the construction.

The next leg of rail is undecided at this point, but there is discussion that could send it along Hwy 90 to Missouri City, should that happen it would be the first step outside the 610 loop for MetroRail.
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