One of the most important components to an updated Regional Transit Plan is the set of projects identified in METRO Solutions. This effort outlined a set of capital projects, fleet enhancements and operational improvements that were approved by voters in 2003.
The referendum authorized METRO for $640 million in bonding capacity to move elements of the plan forward with four initial rail projects targeted for completion in 2012. Of these projects, three are complete: the Red Line North Extension, and the Green and Purple Lines. Of the original four projects approved by voters, only the Westpark Corridor/University Line has not been completed.
The initial funding capacity included in the referendum was insufficient to complete all the elements of the plan with the idea that additional phases of work, including projects such as the Inner Katy, Uptown/West Loop and Southwest Commuter (US 90A) corridors, would be funded based on future funding availability. As of early 2017, METRO had completed a significant amount of the elements identified in the overall METRO Solutions plan beyond the rail system expansion. Key elements of METRO Solutions and progress to date are outlined in the table below.
METRO Solutions Referendum and Completed Projects to Date
|Early 2017 Status
|About 44 new bus routes designed to enhance bus service
|New Network redesigned routes that meet same goal of more service with more frequency
|9 new transit centers
|8 new transit centers
|9 new Park & Ride lots
|7 new Park & Ride lots
|New two-way all-day Park & Ride service in
|I-10 West two-way (west of IH 610)
|About 64.8 additional miles of light rail (22 miles to be complete by 2012)
|15.2 additional miles of light rail complete (only Westpark Corridor/University Line not completed)
|54 new light rail stations (17 to be completed by 2012)
|23 new light rail stations completed
|8 miles of Commuter Rail
|No existing Commuter Rail
|Approximately 20,000 new parking spaces
|9,771 new parking spaces
|Bike racks on buses and at transit centers
|All buses and transit centers have bike racks
|METROLift service mirrors bus expansion
|METROLift service mirrors local bus service, plus expanded service area
In addition to the projects METRO has completed, the Uptown/West Loop Line is being implemented by partners including the Uptown Houston District and Texas Department of Transportation as a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line from Northwest Transit Center to a new transit center near South Rice Avenue and Westpark Drive.
While many of the projects in METRO Solutions have been completed, important ones remain unbuilt like the Westpark Corridor/University Line, extensions of the existing light rail transit (LRT) system, expanding two-way Park & Ride service on HOV corridors, and improved and expanded transit facilities. As these projects are part of a voter-approved plan, they will require careful consideration as METRO develops an update to the Regional Transit Plan to meet Houston's current and future transit needs.