Houston Metro's board of directors voted last week to appropriate funds necessary to purchase 19 Siemens light railcars. The first car could be delivered as early as October of 2012, a full year earlier than expected.
Currently, Metro rail ridership is at capacity during rush hour. To date more than 75 million boardings have been recorded, which puts the system four years ahead of schedule, according to Metro.
In September, a railcar procurement with CAF, a Spanish manufacturer, was terminated because Metro's contract was in conflict with Buy America rules. Since then Metro has worked closely with the FTA to make sure it is in line with procurement requirements. This purchase will help get the agency back on track for improving rail service in Houston.