HCA Welcomes Houston METRO Chair Carrin Patman at May Luncheon
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
The Houston Contractors Association (HCA) was excited to host their May 28th luncheon. It was the first event that HCA put on since the coronavirus quarantine. HCA and the Houston Junior League followed all Texas covid-19 protocols and our members enjoyed the successful luncheon. The speaker was Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) Chair Carrin Patman. She presented virtually and was projected onto the ballroom’s screen along with her accompanying PowerPoint. Patman talked about the current METRO and the agency’s new $7.5 billion METONext program.
First, Carrin Patman stated that Houston’s METRO currently services 1,303 square miles, which includes the City of Houston, unincorporated Harris County, and fourteen multi-cities. Houston METRO currently employs 4,200 people and in fiscal year 2019 had 115 million trips in total ridership.
Patman stated that METRO offers a wide variety of ridership options for Houstonians. In FY 2019, the local bus service hosted 59.4 million rides, Park & Ride service hosted 7.8 million rides, Light Rail hosted 18.6 million rides, METRO Star Vanpool hosted 1.8 million rides, and the High-occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lanes and High-occupancy Toll (HOT) Express Lanes hosted 25.1 million rides.
METRO also offers emergency management support. For example, the agency assisted Houstonians after being hit with 2017’s Hurricane Harvey. METRO buses brought 15,000 people to and from local shelters, served as a lifeline for those with destroyed vehicles, and transported first-responders and supplies.
With traffic being identified as Houston’s biggest problem, Patman transitioned to speaking about METRO’s newly passed METRONext Plan. This plan is designed to help ease Houston’s current traffic congestion and anticipated traffic as the city’s population continues to increase. Patman stated that, “Our region's population is expected to grow from 7 million to more than 10 million people in the next 20 years. [METRONext] is 500 miles of travel improvements with the goal of giving you more ways to move around our region, with no tax increase.”
In 2019, Harris County voters passed METRONext, authorizing METRO $3.5 billion in bonding authority. METRO will then leverage the $3.5 billion with Federal matching funds to have a total of $7.5 billion. There will be no new tax increases for implementing the plan. To learn more about the METRONext Plan, please visit metronext.org.
The key objectives that Patman covered included the implementation of 75 miles of the new METRORapid bus service, which is an “environmentally friendly rapid transit vehicle that looks like a bus, but runs like a rail.” The plan also includes a new light rail extension to Bush International Airport, 21 new or improved suburban Park & Rides and service centers, 16 miles of new light rail with an extension to Hobby Airport, 110 miles of dedicated regional bus transit, and 290 miles of improved traditional bus services.
Patman stated that as a result of the METRONext plan, there is a projected increase of 116% in ridership, 112% decrease in daily auto trips, 165% reduction in daily vehicle miles traveled, and 118% increase in suburban ridership.
For the contracting community, Patman stated that all planned projects are expected to generate more than 100 prime contracting opportunities, most of which will be road improvements and concrete flat work. She added that she looks forward to working with many members of the Houston Contractors Association during the implementation of this multi-billion-dollar project.
Click Here to see Chairwoman Carrin Patman's presentation.