US: Houston Voters Approve $3.5 billion for Light rail-heavy Transit

With a two-thirds majority, Houston-area voters approved a $3.5 billion bond issue to pay for transit projects. This is the first time since 2003 that METRO has asked voters to borrow more money through bonds.

METRO’s plans include a bus rapid transit line to Bush Intercontinental Airport along with a light rail line to Hobby Airport. The transit agency also wants to build new park and ride facilities and make enhancements to the current bus network. — Houston Public Media

The plan will help to expand Houston’s fledgling transportation system, which currently includes a trio of interlocking light rail lines as well as a traditional bus network. 

Houston has a redesigned bus network.  METROnext  builds on that — the rail/BRT lines serve areas that already have strong bus ridership, and connect to dozens of frequent bus routes. Many of those routes get upgraded with better stops, traffic signal priority, and more service.

Houston has over 120 mies of HOV lane. METRONext uses that for a two-way, all-day regional express bus network. City residents will be able to get to work in the Energy Corridor or Clear Lake. Suburban residents will be able to go to an Astros game or museum, not just their jobs.

The $7.5 billion plan makes Houston the latest city to embrace Bus Rapid Transit following in the footsteps of New York City, San Francisco, Portland, and Indianapolis. 

The plan would bring 75 miles of bus rapid transit service as well as 16 additional miles of light rail lines to the region.  

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