Skip to main content

In 2003, voters in the Harris County Metropolitan Transit Authority's (HCMTA) service area approved a referendum on the expansion of light rail.  Tom Delay intervened, and overrode the voters' choice.  Light rail expansion in Houston was blocked by the George W Bush administration for five years.  Suddenly, in 2009, the ban was lifted by the President's new FTA.  Every year, the FTA has sent the HCMTA at least $150 million for light rail expansion.  On December 20, 2013, the first new line, Northline-Houston Community College, went into service.  This year, two more light rail lines will open.

The suburbanites are complaining because HCMTA is concentrating on the democratic-majority Houston center city.  They want commuter light rail to their outlying areas but keep electing republicans who are adamantly opposed to rail expansion.  Somehow Houston suburbanites have not made the connection between whom they vote for and what kind of transportation they get.

HCMTA recently announced that additional cars have been added to Northline (named after a 1950's shopping mall) because passenger boardings have exceeded forecasts.  HCMTA removes motor vehicle lanes and allocates them to rail.  Unlike other new light rail systems, HCMTA is operating the lines as limited-stop streetcars, which is unique in the modern US.  Northline has cut the travel time in half from the 15 Fulton Bus which it replaced.  I talked to many passengers, and every person I talked to is thrilled about the huge improvement in service.  The new line runs every 12 minutes, seven days a week.  I recently took a Sunday photographic stroll on the line and uploaded the video to You Tube.

None of this much-needed expansion would have been possible without President Obama.  Thanks to federal help, and the backing of Democratic Mayor Annise Parker, these lines are going in fast.  On the Northline, it took less that 3 years from the original groundbreaking to the start of service.  Houston, which was the least-likely city to embark on electric rail transit 15 years ago, has an aggressive rail transit program underway.  Elections do make a difference.

Originally posted to LeftistSkeptic on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 05:25 PM PST.

Also republished by Houston Area Kossacks.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

KeithH, TXdem, LeislerNYC, murphy, texaseditor, Powered Grace, greenbird, BooMan23, Emerson, MouseThatRoared, TheGreatLeapForward, Fabienne, wu ming, chuco35, cotterperson, brendan1963, Mnemosyne, red moon dog, MarkInSanFran, exNYinTX, jancw, davelf2, TracieLynn, BlackSheep1, susakinovember, whenwego, djMikulec, Ad Absurdum, CoolOnion, KMc, mkfarkus, roses, Suvro, slangist, PeteZerria, Iberian, antirove, wader, Texknight, ksuwildkat, tidalwave1, pat bunny, Lawrence, NYFM, AmyCat, 2dot, imicon, Major Kong, Sembtex, WisVoter, Black Max, Josiah Bartlett, J Orygun, Gowrie Gal, bloomer 101, NoMoreLies, PDiddie, Ckntfld, ajsuited, citizenx, terrypinder, Gary Norton, reflectionsv37, fixxit, science geek, markdd, kaliope, Tool, SBandini, Spiffydigs, peacestpete, begone, kovie, myboo, cybersaur, Mr Bojangles, tobendaro, profundo, VolvoDrivingLiberal, mr crabby, global citizen, wild hair, StrayCat, philipmerrill, The Hindsight Times, Rosaura, Libby Shaw, el cid, ER Doc, middleagedhousewife, AllDemsOnBoard, oakroyd, anninla, onionjim, doingbusinessas, frankzappatista, MadScientist, Nulwee, PatConnors, Aaa T Tudeattack, krwheaton, Cronesense, camlbacker, ColoTim, Wino, davehouck, jayden, second gen, jnhobbs, Assaf, JDWolverton, jwinIL14, revm3up, misterwade, Scioto, HappyinNM, GAS, Sixty Something, AshesAllFallDown, Involuntary Exile, Lujane, tofumagoo, pamelabrown, pademocrat, bluesheep, Jeff Y, brasilaaron, doppler effect, BYw, suesue, Mayfly, billybam, WearyIdealist, Diogenes2008, legendmn, maggiejean, Louisiana 1976, BerkshireDem, Bule Betawi, J M F, Satya1, Glacial Erratic, rsmpdx, spacecadet1, virginwoolf, oxfdblue, bfitzinAR, kevinpdx, astral66, Railfan, Amber6541, estreya, Orlaine, Anima, LOrion, Polly Syllabic, sunny skies, dagnome, cordgrass, anonevent, rja, ericlewis0, science nerd, ZedMont, JClarkPDX, Onomastic, Maximilien Robespierre, kerflooey, Bluefin, doug1204, mikejay611, Texas Lefty, Haf2Read, toshiaki, Jasonhouse, thomask, BarackStarObama, muddy boots, smoothnmellow, JWK, rk2, abbotkinney, sofa turf, LSmith, worldlotus, poliwrangler, disconnect the dots, Joe Jackson, ratcityreprobate, stlsophos, leftykook, allergywoman, Rejoinder, Sister Inspired Revolver of Freedom, mrbond, anodnhajo, sow hat, Gay CA Democrat, leathersmith, IndieGuy, ahumbleopinion, Eric Nelson, joanil, Lonely Texan, Yonkers Boy, CA ridebalanced, Mike RinRI, peachcreek, jan4insight, Arahahex, BusyinCA, bewareofme, MartyM, doroma, Buckeye54, stvnjon, dotdash2u, ehstronghold, jusjtim35, TheMeansAreTheEnd, twocrows1023, goodpractice, HedwigKos, Aunt Pat, knitwithpurpose, ORswede, northerntier, nice marmot, BadKitties, ET3117, duhban, htowngenie, Chas 981, Dodgerdog1, eagleray, luerwulf, patbahn, jrand, inOr, ptressel, wilywascal, debris54, JuliathePoet, Arkenstark, Kathy Scheidel, Judykaye

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site