The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) celebrated the opening of Houston Metro’s North Line light rail extension, the first of three new light rail lines that will significantly improve transit options in one of the nation’s largest and fastest growing areas.
The U.S. Department of Transportation is providing $900 million toward construction of two new light rail lines in Houston, including $450 million for the North Line and $450 million for the Southeast Line, which is currently under construction and expected to open in 2014. Funding for both rail lines is provided through FTA’s Capital Investment (New Starts) Grant Program.
Houston Metro estimates nearly 1,800 jobs have been created during construction of the two new light rail lines. In addition, expanding service to the north and the southeast is part of the city’s sweeping plan to connect Houston’s workforce with major downtown employment centers, the Texas Medical Center, the University of Houston and Texas Southern University.
Combined, the two projects will extend the existing light rail system by an additional 12 miles and provide alternatives to congested Interstate 45 and U.S. Route 59.
With 18 new passenger stops along the way, the expanded light rail will take riders to Reliant Park, Toyota Center, Minute Maid Park, BBVA Compass Stadium, the Museum District, and the George R. Brown Convention Center/Discovery Green Park. The new light rail lines are expected to carry more than 58,000 riders on weekdays, including more than 13,000 new transit riders a day, by the year 2030.