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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

FTA approves advancement of Houston light rail project

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The Federal Transit Administration notified METRO that it has approved Houston's University Corridor Light Rail Transit project into the Preliminary Engineering phase of the FTA's New Starts program. METRO can now move forward with engineering activities as publication of the Final Environmental Impact Statement and approval of a Record of Decision are imminent.

METRO officials were elated with the good news, and its timing. "This is a great holiday present for Houstonians. The New Year is going to be full of activity as the University corridor has achieved another major milestone." said Frank J. Wilson, METRO president and CEO. Work along three other light rail transit corridors, also approved in the 2003 voter referendum, is already under way.

The University Corridor is an 11.3-mile double-track, 19-station LRT line. The FTA's notice cited improved transit travel time and reliability. Implementation of the University LRT line is projected to improve public transit travel times among commuters along Richmond Avenue, making it more competitive with the automobile.

The University line is projected to generate 49,000 boardings per day by the year 2030 and will provide a connected network serving Houstonians commuting from east, west and southwest to the city's principal destinations and activity centers.

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