METRO $3.5B bond referendum includes projects in Katy area
Sunday, November 03, 2019
By: Nola Z. Valente - Community Impact
The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County with the Houston-Galveston Area Council and other community partners developed the METRONext Moving Forward Plan, which calls for systemwide transit updates over the next 20 years and beyond.
To facilitate these improvements, the METRO board of directors approved a bond referendum, which, if approved by voters Nov. 5, would allow the agency to borrow up to $3.5 billion, repayable by future METRO revenue, to be paired with federal matching dollars and local funds. The bond would not raise METRO’s 1% sales tax rate.
Project leaders have asked residents to voice their transit needs for the agency’s consideration as they continue to develop a plan that could improve or expand services throughout cities in the region, including Katy.
“Mobility is important to this [Katy] community and to the communities around us,” said Don Elder, a METRO board director and former Katy mayor, at a Sept. 25 luncheon. “It’s a plan for the traffic and a plan for the future. If you don’t plan, you plan to fail.”
To improve mobility in the Katy area, METRO has proposed a regional express route with expanded two-way HOV lanes and with improved access to transit centers and park and rides, METRO Media Director Tracy Jackson said.
The plan also proposes a 4.5-mile extension of the two-way HOV lanes from Westgreen Boulevard to Katy Mills on I-10 West.
The agency also hopes to add two new park and ride facilities at Westgreen Boulevard and Katy Mills, she said. Three park and rides already exist in the Katy area.
“The goal is to enhance regional express service seven days a week along I-10 West and link major destinations such as the Energy Corridor, Memorial City, uptown, and downtown,” Jackson said.