The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County Board of Directors today voted unanimously to increase the capital budget for the FY2011 METRORail Expansion project from $158 million to $343.5 million. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
"It comes upon completion of several milestones that were set up as requirements before we would move forward with this action," said METRO President and CEO George Greanias. "One of those, of course, was the termination, successfully, of the rail car contract with the Spanish car company; and the preparation of a new procurement plan moving forward in conjunction with the FTA."
The board voted to approve a contract for legal services on labor issues with Jeff Londa and the firm of Ogletree Deakins.
The board approved an agreement with Harris County for the Mason Creek Hike and Bike Trail connection to the Kingsland Park & Ride project, and voted to name the bridge for Jackie Freeman, the deputy executive director of the Harris County Public Infrastructure Department who has served as a member of the METRO board.
All other agenda items were approved. All votes were unanimous. Agenda
Several people addressed the board, including METRO critic Paul Magaziner.
Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
"The New METRO is still promoting the discriminatory fare box policy of not giving its cash-paying customers a bus transfer," Magaziner said. "This despicable fare policy should have been eliminated by May 2010. It's our opinion that New METRO is worse than the old METRO."
METRO Chair Gilbert Garcia disagreed with Magaziner.
"This METRO has done lots of things that we are very proud of," Garcia said. "We answer every single request, almost immediately."
Other speakers had compliments for METRO employees and the way they work to provide service.
A video recording of the meeting is posted on the METRO website. Click Here