Monday, December 23, 2013

Houston adds to LRT Red Line

Written by  Mischa Wanek-Libman, Engineering Editor

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) joined elected officials and representatives from Harris County Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, to mark the opening of Houston's North Line light rail transit extension.

The North Line is the first of three new LRT being advanced by MTA for MetroRail operations, extending the existing initial Red Line by 5.3 miles and required the construction of eight new stations.

Starting at the University of Houston-Downtown station, the line runs north on North Main to Boundary, crosses east to Fulton, then proceeds north to Northline Commons Mall and the Northline Transit Center.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is providing $900 million toward construction of two other LRT lines, the East End Line and the Southeast Line; both are scheduled to debut in 2014. Funding for both rail lines is provided through FTA's Capital Investment (New Starts) Grant Program. Houston's initial 7.5-mile starter LRT line began operations in January 2004. 

"The fourth largest city in the United States needs and deserves a world class transit system that meets the needs of residents today and will accommodate Houston's growing population," said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. "With more than one million people expected to move to the Houston region over the next decade, public transportation is key to building a successful, sustainable, and competitive environment to do business while creating thousands of jobs along the way."