Apr 20th 2023 | Posted in Transportation by Texas Government Insider

A vote by Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) board members to approve a route for a $1.56 billion bus rapid transit project clears the way for the agency to do more detailed design work for its 25.3-mile University Corridor line. The proposed route would have more than 40 stops with stations situated near the University of Houston, Texas Southern University, the University of St. Thomas and Houston Community College. The vote also paved the way for METRO to continue seeking needed approvals from the Federal Transit Administration, which has recommended $150 million in funding for the project as part of President Biden’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2024, which must be approved by Congress.

FTA Laketran electric bus charging center 300x225 $1.56B University Corridor bus rapid transit project approved by METRO boardMETRO officials addressed one of the community’s primary concerns by pledging to abandon a plan for an overpass on Lockwood Drive and instead use an underpass with multimodal amenities. Stakeholders impacted by the project will be engaged on a section-by-section basis, since the now-approved route will touch multiple neighborhoods in different parts of Houston.

METRO’s most extensive bus rapid transit project, which entails the use of electric-powered buses in dedicated, bus-only lanes, was a key selling point when Harris County voters approved $3.5 billion in bond funding for the agency in 2019. Its route would stretch from the Tidwell Transit Center on the northeast side of Houston to the Westchase Park & Ride on the west side, crossing through communities situated in the eastern and southern parts of the city.

Construction work on the project could begin as early as next year, according to METRO, which plans to unveil the bus rapid transit line in 2028.