The Federal Transit Administration gave METRO permission today 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.
The approval authorizes
METRO to undertake construction preparation activities such as utility
relocation, right-of-way acquisition, development of detailed specifications
and preparation of final construction plans.
In its letters, the FTA
noted that METRO has adequately defined the North and Southeast Corridor’s
project scope, cost estimate, schedule and potential risk areas. It also states
that METRO 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 METRO to finalize items pertaining to METRO’s Title VI
program and the implementation of a detailed operational analysis of rail-car
headways when the project is completed.
In July, 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
Small and local businesses
are expected to receive $300 million to $385 million in eligible contract work
by the time four lines, including Uptown, are completed. The overall project is
expected to generate 60,000 direct and indirect jobs.