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Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership
Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County
by Garrett Bryce and Jim Guidry
Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County Board of Directors today voted unanimously to approve the final list of names for 24 rail stations along the North, Southeast and East End Lines. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer

The names were required to be finalized to provide for construction of METRO’s light rail expansion. Changes to the list were discussed, such as changing the name of the Coffee Plant/Second Ward to Second Ward/Coffee Plant station.  However, no changes were made to the final list. Names

During the meeting, METRO President and CEO George Greanias reported that ridership during November increased by 5.7 percent compared to the same month in 2010.  News Release

“As the economic situation settles down, METRO’s focus on delivering first-class transit services based on smart service is starting to pay off,” Greanias said. “We have a long way to go, but the trends are clearly in the right direction.”

The board voted 7-1, with Allen Watson opposed, to approve an interim policy regarding sponsored bus and rail wraps promoting ridership. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer

The board voted unanimously to authorize a settlement in a case regarding disputed eminent domain litigation.

The matter, labeled as Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas vs. CRV Hardy Yards, LP, et al, was regarding 9.8 acres of property METRO was acquiring for a transit center.

The board voted unanimously to approve a contract, not to exceed $1.5 million, with Siemens Industry for the repair of a light rail vehicle damaged in a collision with a heavy duty vehicle.

Greanias noted that the cost to repair the vehicle is expected to be lower than $1.5 million.  However, exact costs of the repair will not be available until a thorough analysis of the damage is complete.

The board voted unanimously to approve a two-year extension of a contract with ACS Transport Solutions, Inc., at a reduced scope of work, for management of the METRO Q Card program. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer

The contract totals $3,155,320.  Greanias said he planned to discuss the matter of other technologies available for fare payment.

Board Member Christof Spieler said he would vote in favor of the contract extension, but also discussed issues he had with the Q card system.

The board voted unanimously to approve three contracts, with a total cost of $3 million, for construction management services for transit construction projects for a period of two years, with an option to extend for a period of one year.  The contracts are on an as-needed basis for HOT lanes/HOV-related projects, park & ride projects, transit centers, the passenger shelter program and signature bus service.  The companies that received contracts were AIA Engineers, Infrastructure Associates and S&B Infrastructure. 

All other items were approved by unanimous vote with Judge Dwight Jefferson and Lisa Gonzales Castañeda absent. Agenda

The board also received a briefing on the HRT contract for expansion of the light rail system.  The project is 36 percent complete, with 11,000 feet of track installed.  Completion of the North and Southeast East lines is expected in October 2013, and completion of the Downtown line expected in August 2014.

Dannenbaum Engineering BayTran
Remembering Jim Guidry

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