On Monday, The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) gave the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (Houston Metro) permission to enter into Final Design on Houston's North and Southeast light-rail lines.
The FTA's approval is the final prerequisite toward entering Full Funding Grant Agreements on both lines, which signals the federal government's commitment to fund its part of the projects.
In its letters, the FTA noted that Houston Metro has adequately defined the North and Southeast Corridor's project scope, cost estimate, schedule and potential risk areas. It also states that the agency has demonstrated the technical capacity and capability to construct and implement the projects and has sufficient technical and management resources to enter into final design work.
The FTA also notes that it is working with Houston Metro to finalize items pertaining to its Title VI program and the implementation of a detailed operational analysis of railcar headways when the project is completed.
In July, Houston Metro issued a $121 million work order for the North and Southeast lines, including initial utility relocation work. The work order is part of a larger contract that calls for the initial spending of $632 million on the North, Southeast and East End light-rail lines.
The overall project is expected to generate 60,000 direct and indirect jobs.