March 5, 2009

Houston METRO to add 20 miles of light rail

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County’s (METRO) board of directors adopted a $1.46 billion contract with Parsons Transportation Group to build four more light-rail lines for Houston, creating 60,000 jobs before the approximately 20 additional miles of light rail are completed.

“These light rail lines, along with the highly successful Main Street line, will serve as the backbone for a regional system that will serve commuters across the entire Metropolitan area, and across county lines, for generations to come,” said METRO Board Chairman David S. Wolff. “We are building not just a better transportation system; we are building a better future for all our citizens.”

The initial phase of the contract calls for spending $632 million and is expected to create 25,000 jobs, including a combined $90 million in utility work on the North and Southeast Corridors and $390 million in total costs for the East End Corridor, which includes an overpass at Harrisburg for light rail, construction of a service and inspection facility, and an $118 million railcar order.

METRO President/CEO Frank J. Wilson said the total contract calls for 35 percent of eligible program contracts to go to local small businesses, which will amount to $335 million. The Parsons Transportation Group, he added, will be responsible for designing, building, operating and maintaining the four new light-rail lines.

The Parson Transportation Group has worked on similar projects in Dallas, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Kuala Lumpur.

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