2010 Census Does Not Support Changes to Board
Study Shows Nine Continues to be Correct Number of Representatives
Houston shows continued, dramatic growth according to the 2010 Census, but the distribution of its population does not warrant an increase in the number METRO board members. That’s according to an analysis by Dr. Richard Murray, professor of political science at the University of Houston. Murray, who served nine years as director of UH’s Hobby Center for Public Policy, was commissioned by METRO to study Census data released in March, to see if changes to the composition of the authority’s board would be necessary.
The findings of Dr. Murray’s study were unveiled by Chairman Gilbert Garcia at METRO’s June board meeting. "The results, although not unexpected, bring to closure any questions about the Board's make-up," said Garcia. "The Board remains unified in our efforts to be as efficient as possible in delivering safe, affordable and reliable transit solutions to the area," he added.
At issue is a section in the Texas Transportation Code, calling for expansion of METRO's board from 9 to 11 members, if there has been sufficient population growth in METRO's Harris County tax/service area outside the city of Houston. If so, the law says Harris County would appoint one additional member, and the majority of the board would make the other appointment - the chairman of the board.
Dr. Murray’s report concludes: “The relevant percentage is … 1,354,172 (the population of Harris County in METRO’s service area, excluding the city of Houston’s population) divided by 2,035,179 (the population of Harris County, excluding city of Houston’s population) equals: 66.54 percent. … To reach the 75 percent threshold, the Harris County population that is in METRO’s service area but not in the city of Houston would have to be at least 1,526,384 (75 percent of 2,035,179). The 2010 data reflect a shortfall of 172,212 in the relevant population.”
The board is now seeking a ruling by the Attorney General to verify the report’s interpretation of the statute. Click here to read the full report.