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METRO's November 6, 2012 Ballot to Expand Bus Service and Reduce Debt


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The Greenlink is nice. And free. The little buses are charming. Metro needs to invest in those for low ridership lines instead of using old paratransit buses.

But the Greenlink service doesn't come close to matching the old trolleys or the Texas Special routes that came before them.

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The 2 - Bellaire (the busiest route in Houston), 4 - Beechnut, 8 - S. Main, 15 (now the 14) - Hiram Clarke, 25 - Richmond, 65 - Bissonnet, and the 132 - Harwin Express were all truncated to feed into the rail line. With the exception of the 132 these were all high ridership lines, though over the years that ridership has declined, in some cases significantly. But it's not a conspiracy, it's a fact. And the reason the 1 - Hospital comes so readily to mind is because it's the only bus that parallels the rail line from the Medical Center to downtown Houston. The 53/81/82 escaped the truncation because they did not spill into a rail station like the aforementioned routes. The same goes for the 9 - Gulfton, 11 - Almeda, 52 - Hirsch, 60 - S. MacGregor and the 78 - Alabama.

Are there any old maps that show these routes pre-2004? And where are you getting your ridership numbers for specific routes? I believe I've seen individual route ridership numbers for last year, but don't remember seeing them for the last 10 years.

This is all pretty common knowledge for those of us who ride the bus. It just goes to show you the people who shout the loudest on one side or the other on public transportation issues have little hands on experience with actual public transportation.

I rode the bus for years but I rode it shortly after METRORail opened. I have traveled a lot and always use local public transportation to get around.

That being said, I think that having a few high capacity rail lines to more efficiently carry larger groups of people between employment centers is just as important as having a good bus system.

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What do you mean exactly by "implemented well?"

there is a plan. it is approved. it costs a lot of money. the plan has an implementation schedule with promised completion dates.

that schedule is not only not met, but the cost triples and the federal government finds evidence of illegal activity on the part of management. finally the most essential parts of the plan are scrapped several years after the promised completion date for lack of funds and lack of agreement among the parties for any way to move forward.

that's what I mean.

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there is a plan. it is approved. it costs a lot of money. the plan has an implementation schedule with promised completion dates.

that schedule is not only not met, but the cost triples and the federal government finds evidence of illegal activity on the part of management. finally the most essential parts of the plan are scrapped several years after the promised completion date for lack of funds and lack of agreement among the parties for any way to move forward.

that's what I mean.

Trust me, I'm just as upset as anyone that 1) the economy screwed everything up and 2) METRO leadership screwed it up even more.

Although I do think that even though things are delayed, every effort should be made to finish off phase I of the plan. The extra $200 million towards METRO will help towards that goal. We will see if that money will go to providing new service as the 2003 referendum dictates, or if it will simply bolster the existing system.

The rail portion of the plan still needs to be built.

Edited by mfastx
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Trust me, I'm just as upset as anyone that 1) the economy screwed everything up and 2) METRO leadership screwed it up even more...The rail portion of the plan still needs to be built.

According to the METRO Board after Friday's vote, specifically Garcia and Spieler, this referendum will NOT result in the completion of "the rail portion of the plan" even if the "NOs" win and METRO gets the full penny sales tax.

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The economy screwing everything up is a completely false arguement. If anything, the economy tanking should have helped Metro implement the plan, not bungle it. Over the last several years, entities that had capital projects already approved and funds for them found out when they went bid them that the bids were all coming in significantly lower than was forecast. They had substantial funds left over for additional capital projects.

Yes the cost of raw materials was up due to foreign demand, but labor is less fungible and contractors and suppliers domestically were dying for work and willing to destroy their margins to keep working. I know this first hand as I used to work for a fairly large domestic concrete producer. I now own some very expensive ESPP toilet paper in said producer once it went belly up. They were hurting for any job - commercial, government, etc and margins crashed.

Even the worlds biggest concrete producer - US operations located here (CEMEX) narrowly avoided the same fate. If Metro could not take advantage of the bidding process in an environment such as this, I think this would be a textbook definition of "not implemented well".

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According to the METRO Board after Friday's vote, specifically Garcia and Spieler, this referendum will NOT result in the completion of "the rail portion of the plan" even if the "NOs" win and METRO gets the full penny sales tax.

I watched the whole board meeting and it was only clear that a "yes" vote would prevent construction of the University Line. They never even talked about what would happen in a "no" vote. Can you elaborate on what they said exactly?

The economy screwing everything up is a completely false arguement. If anything, the economy tanking should have helped Metro implement the plan, not bungle it. Over the last several years, entities that had capital projects already approved and funds for them found out when they went bid them that the bids were all coming in significantly lower than was forecast. They had substantial funds left over for additional capital projects.

IIRC, METRO was counting on some local funds (sales tax revenues) to help fund the rail lines. Those revenues came in much lower than METRO had projected in 2003.

Edited by mfastx
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I watched the whole board meeting and it was only clear that a "yes" vote would prevent construction of the University Line. They never even talked about what would happen in a "no" vote. Can you elaborate on what they said exactly? IIRC, METRO was counting on some local funds (sales tax revenues) to help fund the rail lines. Those revenues came in much lower than METRO had projected in 2003.

from the chron article, these are quotes:

"I want that University line, but ultimately I can't get everything I want," Garcia said. "I am going to try to work hard to get what we need, and what we need now is to pay down that debt, get community support and increase ridership."

The University line, as outlined in the 2003 referendum, would run from the Hillcroft Transit Center to the Main Street line's Wheeler Station. Board member Christof Spieler cited the line's importance in explaining his lone "nay" in Friday's 8-1 vote.

"This proposal does not give enough money to transit," Spieler said, adding that politics had prevented better policy. "The reality is we have to operate within a political environment that we're given. Are there some bullies in this political environment? Yes. I'll leave it to the public to judge what happened."

Garcia qualifies his statement re no Univ Line, but Spieler's comment does not, and his own proposed ballot language did not include the bus restriction on the penny b/c METRO needs 100% of that penny + lots of fed funding that currently is not available if they want to build the Univ and Uptown Lines in the next 20 years.

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IIRC, METRO was counting on some local funds (sales tax revenues) to help fund the rail lines. Those revenues came in much lower than METRO had projected in 2003.

Which goes back to Niche's point on one of these many insanely long threads on Metro. His point was to build out the rail in the future when it was actually needed and the arguement against it was it would cost so much more. But the counter-arguement was that revenues (sales tax) would also rise in the future to offset the cost increase.

Yes, Metro may have had lower tax revenues than they initially projected (which if they had been implementing well - would have contingently planned for instead of being caught flat-footed), but the corresponding capital costs should have gone down as well during the same time as it has been a bad time for the construction industry the last few years.

Another question - was it really a dip in sales tax revenue so much that caused Metro's problems? Was it counting on additional federal funds that were blocked by ornery politicians?

I actually thought a large part of it was a gross miscalculation of how much the rail line were going to cost to construct.

Which one is the main reason?

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Garcia qualifies his statement re no Univ Line, but Spieler's comment does not, and his own proposed ballot language did not include the bus restriction on the penny b/c METRO needs 100% of that penny + lots of fed funding that currently is not available if they want to build the Univ and Uptown Lines in the next 20 years.

There is nothing in the quotes you provided (which I had already seen) that tells us that even in the case of a "no" vote, the University Line will not be built.

If METRO got the whole tax they would easily be able to afford half the cost of the line while the feds provided the other half. The feds intend on funding the line, if not they would have not given METRO a ROD on the University Line.

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There is nothing in the quotes you provided (which I had already seen) that tells us that even in the case of a "no" vote, the University Line will not be built.

If METRO got the whole tax they would easily be able to afford half the cost of the line while the feds provided the other half. The feds intend on funding the line, if not they would have not given METRO a ROD on the University Line.

A "no" outcome is a big unknown, but given what Chairman Garcia has said and the make up of the board and the heavy dependence on that funding by the member entities, I would expect the GMF would continue, probably somewhat close to whatever the "yes" outcome would be. Kinda ironic - so much for voter choice.

Culberson has banned funding for the U-line in legislation. Even if that is overturned, given budget realities, it is a big question mark if the feds will continue funding rail projects, esp. 5 or 10 years from now.

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A "no" outcome is a big unknown, but given what Chairman Garcia has said and the make up of the board and the heavy dependence on that funding by the member entities, I would expect the GMF would continue, probably somewhat close to whatever the "yes" outcome would be. Kinda ironic - so much for voter choice.

Yeah, I don't think anyone expects the public to vote "no" anyway. If the unthinkable happens, I expect there to be lawsuits.

Culberson has banned funding for the U-line in legislation. Even if that is overturned, given budget realities, it is a big question mark if the feds will continue funding rail projects, esp. 5 or 10 years from now.

While I don't think that Culberson's language will pass, I do agree that depending on which party is in power, funding down the line is definitely questionable.

I will say that if METRO can get it's act together that funding is definitely achievable. That's a big if however.

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So there is a story on KUHF saying even if voters vote no the GMP payments will continue anyway in some form. How do these places have METRO bent over? Why are Parker and Garcia fighting for GMP payments?

Because the board of directors of Metro are appointed by these entities, and the people who appoint these board members, including the Mayor of Houston, want to continue the GMP because it's critical to their mobility budgets.

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Because the board of directors of Metro are appointed by these entities, and the people who appoint these board members, including the Mayor of Houston, want to continue the GMP because it's critical to their mobility budgets.

Four out of 9. Five are mayor's appointees that represent city of Houston correct? Why would the mayor care about GMP other than the fact that it's an election year?

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Not an election year for Mayor.

Then why in the world does the mayor care about giving out 25% of metro money to outside areas? There is already so much road money out there, and those entities refuse to spend a nickel on transit, but yet more money needs to be raided from the one penny sales tax. How does that make sense?

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Then why in the world does the mayor care about giving out 25% of metro money to outside areas? There is already so much road money out there, and those entities refuse to spend a nickel on transit, but yet more money needs to be raided from the one penny sales tax. How does that make sense?

It doesn't. Welcome to Houston. :P

On a serious note, it is very unusual for a major city to divert a significant share of it's transit funding to roads. While it does seem backwards, the leaders have apparently gotten used to the extra funding and have gotten greedy. Apparently they no longer wish to raise monies for roads strictly from taxes as they instead would rather get money from local public transportation agencies, specifically METRO. It's all very strange and backwards to me, but whatever.

Public transit in Houston will always be sub-par at best until this backwards way of thinking changes.

Edited by mfastx
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Then why in the world does the mayor care about giving out 25% of metro money to outside areas? There is already so much road money out there, and those entities refuse to spend a nickel on transit, but yet more money needs to be raided from the one penny sales tax. How does that make sense?

Keep in mind that much of the sales tax Metro collects that appear as Houston sourced come from the tendrils of the City that stretch along the freeways and FM1960. Houston annexes just about every commercial area in the County. The residents of many of the incorporated cities do their shopping in Houston. For Metro to take all the money and spend it solely on rail for central Houston would be more than a little unfair to the people who paid the taxes. The University line does nothing to help the folks who live North of FM1960 get to work. or to shopping.

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Keep in mind that much of the sales tax Metro collects that appear as Houston sourced come from the tendrils of the City that stretch along the freeways and FM1960. Houston annexes just about every commercial area in the County. The residents of many of the incorporated cities do their shopping in Houston. For Metro to take all the money and spend it solely on rail for central Houston would be more than a little unfair to the people who paid the taxes. The University line does nothing to help the folks who live North of FM1960 get to work. or to shopping.

Those people get road money from other sources. Also if they made commuter rail it would have something to connect to if a central METRO system was allowed to be completed.

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Keep in mind that much of the sales tax Metro collects that appear as Houston sourced come from the tendrils of the City that stretch along the freeways and FM1960. Houston annexes just about every commercial area in the County. The residents of many of the incorporated cities do their shopping in Houston. For Metro to take all the money and spend it solely on rail for central Houston would be more than a little unfair to the people who paid the taxes. The University line does nothing to help the folks who live North of FM1960 get to work. or to shopping.

METRO spends most of it's money on operating the bus system.

METRO has invested serious money on the P&R system and is looking to invest more money on commuter rail in the future. I'd say that the suburbs have gotten plenty of return for their tax.

It is not METRO's responsibility to pay for road construction in suburbs. METRO's responsibility to the suburbs is solely to provide decent commuter transit from suburban areas to the city, which they have in a great P&R system.

The University line will have much greater ridership than if METRO just spent all of that money throwing buses into the suburbs.

For example: current P&R ridership ~ 32,000 boardings a day.

Projected University Line ridership (probably on the low side): ~40,000 a day. All for about the same investment: ~$1 billion.

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Because the City of Houston gets a big chunk of the GMP too.

Out of the 25%, how much? Also I take this to mean the city of Houston's priorities are off. A transit system is to build transit. People associate this with what they can see. A rail system is a better investment than small repairs to roads, which is a never ending process. Especially with higher gas prices you would think people would clamor for alternative methods of transport.

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Keep in mind that much of the sales tax Metro collects that appear as Houston sourced come from the tendrils of the City that stretch along the freeways and FM1960. Houston annexes just about every commercial area in the County. The residents of many of the incorporated cities do their shopping in Houston. For Metro to take all the money and spend it solely on rail for central Houston would be more than a little unfair to the people who paid the taxes. The University line does nothing to help the folks who live North of FM1960 get to work. or to shopping.

To be frank and honest here, I don't care about their streets, if they want city money, join the city.

The taxes diverted from METRO to improve roads for those who live north of FM 1960 does little to help me, or folks who do use METRO buses, or rail in some fashion or another.

To take money from METRO that would be used to improve bus service, or add additional light rail lines would be a little unfair to the people who ride METRO daily AND do ALL of their shopping in Houston (not just a portion of it) would be far more unfair.

Not only are people who live outside of the city and spend money in the city in the extreme minority, the amount of return that they receive vs the amount of money they invest (through sales tax paid to the city) is terribly out of proportion. Someone a few pages back on a different topic maybe put the figures of how much money per person these small municipalities receive, which is far less than is invested per person in the city of Houston.

So it appears we are at an impasse, You won't use METRO buses or light rail, and I won't ever drive through your town, and neither of us cares about the well being of the other.

Edited by samagon
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To be frank and honest here, I don't care about their streets, if they want city money, join the city.

The taxes diverted from METRO to improve roads for those who live north of FM 1960 does little to help me, or folks who do use METRO buses, or rail in some fashion or another.

To take money from METRO that would be used to improve bus service, or add additional light rail lines would be a little unfair to the people who ride METRO daily AND do ALL of their shopping in Houston (not just a portion of it) would be far more unfair.

Not only are people who live outside of the city and spend money in the city in the extreme minority, the amount of return that they receive vs the amount of money they invest (through sales tax paid to the city) is terribly out of proportion. Someone a few pages back on a different topic maybe put the figures of how much money per person these small municipalities receive, which is far less than is invested per person in the city of Houston.

So it appears we are at an impasse, You won't use METRO buses or light rail, and I won't ever drive through your town, and neither of us cares about the well being of the other.

As was mentioned before, CoH has annexed many of the commercial areas along 1960, so most residents of the northwest county are paying sales tax to a city that provides them no services. There are also all the wealthy residents of the small municipalities (Bellaire, West U, the westside villages) that do most of their shopping in Houston. That's why you have to be a little wary of these calculations showing Houston getting less than its proportional share of the GMP - there's no way of knowing how much of the sales tax generated within CoH is by residents who live outside of it. It could be a lot more substantial than you think.

Also remember that the 1% sales tax covers the entire Metro service area (not just CoH), including most of Harris County, and goes to Metro. They get very little transit service for the 1% they put in, and so to be equitable, they get more out of the GMP. If they lose that GMP, they will simply petition the legislature to give it back, or to remove them from Metro, and Metro will lose that 1% from all of those areas - a big chunk of change. Better for Metro to compromise and keep them within its sales tax base.

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As was mentioned before, CoH has annexed many of the commercial areas along 1960, so most residents of the northwest county are paying sales tax to a city that provides them no services. There are also all the wealthy residents of the small municipalities (Bellaire, West U, the westside villages) that do most of their shopping in Houston. That's why you have to be a little wary of these calculations showing Houston getting less than its proportional share of the GMP - there's no way of knowing how much of the sales tax generated within CoH is by residents who live outside of it. It could be a lot more substantial than you think.

Also remember that the 1% sales tax covers the entire Metro service area (not just CoH), including most of Harris County, and goes to Metro. They get very little transit service for the 1% they put in, and so to be equitable, they get more out of the GMP. If they lose that GMP, they will simply petition the legislature to give it back, or to remove them from Metro, and Metro will lose that 1% from all of those areas - a big chunk of change. Better for Metro to compromise and keep them within its sales tax base.

That's what's so confusing, part of the argument given by people who live in those municipalities say they don't have much retail, which is part of why they have to go to areas in COH to shop, which is why they want to have this 25% of the 1% given back to them, so why would losing the 1% from retail that doesn't exist, or is in short supply (by their own statements, not mine) matter?

Either way, this is a complete and total farce (the ballot vote), since regardless of what the majority of people vote for will just be ignored (assuming a majority vote no). Which is really disappointing because it is wasting more time (money) that could be used on other issues that the outcome isn't already decided for us.

Edited by samagon
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Also remember that the 1% sales tax covers the entire Metro service area (not just CoH), including most of Harris County, and goes to Metro. They get very little transit service for the 1% they put in, and so to be equitable, they get more out of the GMP. If they lose that GMP, they will simply petition the legislature to give it back, or to remove them from Metro, and Metro will lose that 1% from all of those areas - a big chunk of change. Better for Metro to compromise and keep them within its sales tax base.

I think this point is the elephant in the room that is totally ignored or not understood by the rail brigade.

Say a no vote happens. So Metro gets to keep it all. In theory. All the other parties to Metro besides Houston (and part of Houston's power elite - since they will now have to VISIBLY raise city taxes to repair streets) will be pissed. They will say - " why should we pay sales tax for Houston to get a toy train?". And they are correct from their perspective.

So they go to their state representative and senator and raise a little hetch - e- double hockey sticks. And since Metro has such a wonderful reputation of late for top-notch execution and following the rules, etc. - the 14 little guys actually have a pretty good chance of getting their way.

Which means their is a strong possibility that the little guys get to pull out of Metro and keep their full 1% for themselves. Almost every outlying city or county that is not a part of Metro already has their own economic development type authority or something similar to utilize the 1% sales tax allowed by the state. And they all love it. Ft. Bend County funds it's own transit agency, I think SugarLand is building part of their new performance pavilion with it, etc.

Metro realizes this. So they know they would still have to keep paying out GMP to keep all the members happy. I haven't run the numbers, and I'm not going to, but considering that most of the growth is projected to be in Harris County and not Houston proper (and especially not Inner Loop), Metro does not want to lose this future revenue.

So a "no" vote might sound wonderful to the rail brigade, but the law of unintended consequences is a real b!+@h.

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To be frank and honest here, I don't care about their streets, if they want city money, join the city.

The taxes diverted from METRO to improve roads for those who live north of FM 1960 does little to help me, or folks who do use METRO buses, or rail in some fashion or another.

To take money from METRO that would be used to improve bus service, or add additional light rail lines would be a little unfair to the people who ride METRO daily AND do ALL of their shopping in Houston (not just a portion of it) would be far more unfair.

Not only are people who live outside of the city and spend money in the city in the extreme minority, the amount of return that they receive vs the amount of money they invest (through sales tax paid to the city) is terribly out of proportion. Someone a few pages back on a different topic maybe put the figures of how much money per person these small municipalities receive, which is far less than is invested per person in the city of Houston.

So it appears we are at an impasse, You won't use METRO buses or light rail, and I won't ever drive through your town, and neither of us cares about the well being of the other.

The City won't annex those areas because the City doesn't want to have to provide services to all the houses and absorb the MUD's. There is also some risk of inciitng a voting power lawsuit if the annexed areas are "too white". The City annexes the commercial areas because businesses don't vote, but can't avoid collecting and remitting the City sales tax, and the property tax is a nice benefit for the City as well.

If the City had not annexed the commercial areas in the County, the Metro tax amounts would be the same as now, but would be shown as sourced in the County rather than the City. That's really what's causing the GMP to look skewed against Houston. I would really like to see data on how much Metro tax that appears to be sourced from the City is collected in the County commercial areas.

Tory is right. If Metro takes too much money out of GMP and puts it in Houston rail, the County and other entities will use the legislature to resolve the issue, and that's not good for anyone.

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Tory is right. If Metro takes too much money out of GMP and puts it in Houston rail, the County and other entities will use the legislature to resolve the issue, and that's not good for anyone.

yep. one of the few things more venal, inept, and corrupt than the METRO operation is the Texas Legislature. like METRO, not everybody there fits that description, but there's a critical mass...

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Also remember that the 1% sales tax covers the entire Metro service area (not just CoH), including most of Harris County, and goes to Metro.

This not entirely accurate. People commonly mistake the METRO service area as including most or all of Harris County. This is simply not true. METRO's service area is 1,285 square miles. It includes the entire City of Houston, at 656 square miles. This leaves 629 square miles of service area that is not Houston. Member cities make up an additional 66 square miles of service area. This leaves only 535 square miles of Harris County's 1,778 square mile area in the METRO service area, 535 square miles of the 1,056 square miles not in a member city or Houston. In other words, half of the county area is not in the METRO service area. That really doesn't qualify as "most".

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Tory is right. If Metro takes too much money out of GMP and puts it in Houston rail, the County and other entities will use the legislature to resolve the issue, and that's not good for anyone.

Which is why METRO needs to propose a system instead some piece meal transit project. Park&Ride for the suburbs and outer employment centers and rail connecting the densest employment and activity centers.

Edited by kdog08
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This not entirely accurate. People commonly mistake the METRO service area as including most or all of Harris County. This is simply not true. METRO's service area is 1,285 square miles. It includes the entire City of Houston, at 656 square miles. This leaves 629 square miles of service area that is not Houston. Member cities make up an additional 66 square miles of service area. This leaves only 535 square miles of Harris County's 1,778 square mile area in the METRO service area, 535 square miles of the 1,056 square miles not in a member city or Houston. In other words, half of the county area is not in the METRO service area. That really doesn't qualify as "most".

As you can see, only a small eastern portion of Harris County (and Tomball) is not in the Metro service area:

http://www.lightrail...lutions-map.jpg

hou-metro-solutions-map.jpg

Edited by ToryGattis
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I'm not sure that I would call nearly the entire area east of US 59 North, 610 East, and I-45 South a "small eastern portion". That "small eastern portion" of the county comprises over 500 square miles, 30% of the entire county.

Perhaps if you saw a map of the full county, you'd realize just how far east the county extends. It includes part of the eastern shore of Galveston Bay.

map_harris_450x385.jpg

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This not entirely accurate. People commonly mistake the METRO service area as including most or all of Harris County. This is simply not true. METRO's service area is 1,285 square miles. It includes the entire City of Houston, at 656 square miles. This leaves 629 square miles of service area that is not Houston. Member cities make up an additional 66 square miles of service area. This leaves only 535 square miles of Harris County's 1,778 square mile area in the METRO service area, 535 square miles of the 1,056 square miles not in a member city or Houston. In other words, half of the county area is not in the METRO service area. That really doesn't qualify as "most".

That makes no sense. Houston is in Harris County, and can't be excluded when talking about total county coverage, so the total coverage is about 72% of the county. The portion of the county North of I-10 htat is not in the service area is pretty sparsely populated, and probably not a candidate area for much in the way of transit projects. The area South of I-10 is industrial and Pasadena/Baytown, who do their own thing for transit, or use the Harris County Transit program.

There are a couple of issues. One is allocation of collected taxes. The data that is available makes it almost impossible to tell if the allocation is fair or not. You can't simply say that each entity ought to get 25% of the Metro taxes collected in an entity's boundaries. That ignores the City of Houston's control of most of the major commercial areas in the North and Northwest portions of the County, plus the fact that some of the smaller entities simply don't have much commercial activity.

Another issue is which projects are funded. GMP money probably shouldn't go to put in sidewalks and curbs in residential areas. It should go to improve access to park and ride lots and to major transit corridors, including freeways. Improvements to Memorial Drive through the Villages would be legitimate, as well as improvements to Piney Point, Voss from I-10 to the bayou, etc. A comprehensive list of projects would be nice, but I haven't found one.

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I'm not sure that I would call nearly the entire area east of US 59 North, 610 East, and I-45 South a "small eastern portion". That "small eastern portion" of the county comprises over 500 square miles, 30% of the entire county.

Perhaps if you saw a map of the full county, you'd realize just how far east the county extends. It includes part of the eastern shore of Galveston Bay.

map_harris_450x385.jpg

Fair enough. It is bigger out there on the east side than it looked in that other map I found. But as far as my original statement "most" of Harris County, I think 70% would fairly qualify as "most" (and I'd bet it's higher than 70% on a population basis).

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They get very little transit service for the 1% they put in, and so to be equitable, they get more out of the GMP.

<_<

You know the suburbanites would have a fit if Metro dared to run a non P&R ride bus through those areas "that get very little transit service." In the 80's Metro went crazy trying to run buses through every nook and cranny of the service area. There used to be local bus service in Clear Lake, Webster, and the other little communities bordering the bay, all operated by Metro. Ridership didn't justify the expenditure of dollars to operate the routes. But let's not act like Metro didn't try at one time.

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<_<

You know the suburbanites would have a fit if Metro dared to run a non P&R ride bus through those areas "that get very little transit service." In the 80's Metro went crazy trying to run buses through every nook and cranny of the service area. There used to be local bus service in Clear Lake, Webster, and the other little communities bordering the bay, all operated by Metro. Ridership didn't justify the expenditure of dollars to operate the routes. But let's not act like Metro didn't try at one time.

Doesn't change the fact that taxes are being collected without services provided. I guess they decided to swap heavily subsidized, underutilized and expensive bus service for the GMP. Even if Metro was still running the high-loss bus services instead, that money wouldn't be available for LRT.

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Fair enough. It is bigger out there on the east side than it looked in that other map I found. But as far as my original statement "most" of Harris County, I think 70% would fairly qualify as "most" (and I'd bet it's higher than 70% on a population basis).

I agree. The county bulges out to the east more than I thought, too. As for the 70% coverage, that is true, but since your point is that the non-Houston areas get less service than Houston areas, it is a little disingenuous to claim the Houston coverage area in your argument. And the taxes collected will necessarily be higher in densely populated areas versus less populated areas. The most service is provided where the most population is. That also happens to be where the most tax is collected.

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<_<

You know the suburbanites would have a fit if Metro dared to run a non P&R ride bus through those areas "that get very little transit service." In the 80's Metro went crazy trying to run buses through every nook and cranny of the service area. There used to be local bus service in Clear Lake, Webster, and the other little communities bordering the bay, all operated by Metro. Ridership didn't justify the expenditure of dollars to operate the routes. But let's not act like Metro didn't try at one time.

People in the suburbs fear the possibility of blacks and mexicans riding around their neighborhoods.

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Fair enough. It is bigger out there on the east side than it looked in that other map I found. But as far as my original statement "most" of Harris County, I think 70% would fairly qualify as "most" (and I'd bet it's higher than 70% on a population basis).

According to METRO, it looks to be about 83% of the county's population is in their service area.

http://www.ridemetro.org/AboutUs/Board/working_meetings/2011/Presentations/062311_Chairman_board_report.pdf

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According to METRO, it looks to be about 83% of the county's population is in their service area.

http://www.ridemetro...oard_report.pdf

Hm, a pretty optimistic outlook from Metro. When I lived in Spring I couldn't have reasonably got to Metro without a car. These days it would be a little easier with my bicycle, but they didn't offer bike racks at the time.

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Hm, a pretty optimistic outlook from Metro. When I lived in Spring I couldn't have reasonably got to Metro without a car. These days it would be a little easier with my bicycle, but they didn't offer bike racks at the time.

The service area is just their tax base (1% sales tax) they are allowed to serve - doesn't mean they actually serve all of it, especially the far suburbs - thus the debate on this thread and about the GMP.

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<_<

You know the suburbanites would have a fit if Metro dared to run a non P&R ride bus through those areas "that get very little transit service." In the 80's Metro went crazy trying to run buses through every nook and cranny of the service area. There used to be local bus service in Clear Lake, Webster, and the other little communities bordering the bay, all operated by Metro. Ridership didn't justify the expenditure of dollars to operate the routes. But let's not act like Metro didn't try at one time.

People in the suburbs fear the possibility of blacks and mexicans riding around their neighborhoods.

Yes, yes, yes. People in suburbs are nothing but ignorant racist nimbys.

Not at all like the enlightened worldy citizens-saints of the inner city.

You know:

The good people who don't want the riff-raff and crowds that will come with the 22 story buidling being built at Ashby and Bissonnet.

The good people who live in Afton Oaks who don't want MetroRail running thru their pristine neighborhood destorying the fabiric of their society with poor people. (i.e. blacks & hispanics)

The good people of the Heights who bemoan the loss of their grand ol' ways of life because of the atrocity of a Wal-Mart besmirching the fabric of their society and bringing in untold numbers of low-life. (i.e. poor, blacks, hispanics)

Or the building of an old folks home because it will ruin their perfect little world of jaunting down to a safe and sanitized "world market" experience and bring in hordes of cane-toting gang-bangers.

The good people of Midtown who are gnashing their teeth that a non-profit is moving in that will feed the hungry (and not even at that site) and bring in hordes of alcolholic stalkers who demand protection money. (i.e. mentally ill, homeless, poor people)

Especially the last two - the Heights and Midtown used to be full of minorities and poor people and nothing else because nobody wanted to live there. Then they were "discovered" - when were they lost again? - and people started pushing the minorites out. Only its a subtle thing - they call it gentrification - but it has the same effect. Everybody looks like everybody else and they are all the same socio-economic class and everybody is happy about their wonderful world.

But it's the suburbs who are racist. <_<

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I'd just like to remind everyone since the point seems to have been ignored - METRO has invested a pretty damn good amount of money in the P&R system - which not only generates little ridership compared to the local routes, but it serves suburban areas.

The P&R system is great - and a lot more people could use it.

I have asked this many times but no one has provided an answer - what other major city takes a significant amount of money that's supposed to be deticated to transit.. and diverts it to roads??

And if that city exists, do they have a good transit system?

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Yes, yes, yes. People in suburbs are nothing but ignorant racist nimbys.

Not at all like the enlightened worldy citizens-saints of the inner city.

You know:

The good people who don't want the riff-raff and crowds that will come with the 22 story buidling being built at Ashby and Bissonnet.

The good people who live in Afton Oaks who don't want MetroRail running thru their pristine neighborhood destorying the fabiric of their society with poor people. (i.e. blacks & hispanics)

The good people of the Heights who bemoan the loss of their grand ol' ways of life because of the atrocity of a Wal-Mart besmirching the fabric of their society and bringing in untold numbers of low-life. (i.e. poor, blacks, hispanics)

Or the building of an old folks home because it will ruin their perfect little world of jaunting down to a safe and sanitized "world market" experience and bring in hordes of cane-toting gang-bangers.

The good people of Midtown who are gnashing their teeth that a non-profit is moving in that will feed the hungry (and not even at that site) and bring in hordes of alcolholic stalkers who demand protection money. (i.e. mentally ill, homeless, poor people)

Especially the last two - the Heights and Midtown used to be full of minorities and poor people and nothing else because nobody wanted to live there. Then they were "discovered" - when were they lost again? - and people started pushing the minorites out. Only its a subtle thing - they call it gentrification - but it has the same effect. Everybody looks like everybody else and they are all the same socio-economic class and everybody is happy about their wonderful world.

But it's the suburbs who are racist. <_<

I agree it's not just the suburbs who are racist

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Doesn't change the fact that taxes are being collected without services provided. I guess they decided to swap heavily subsidized, underutilized and expensive bus service for the GMP. Even if Metro was still running the high-loss bus services instead, that money wouldn't be available for LRT.

But it's not Metro's job to fund their road repairs/expansion, especially if Metro buses aren't utilizing those roads.

Yes, yes, yes. People in suburbs are nothing but ignorant racist nimbys.

Not at all like the enlightened worldy citizens-saints of the inner city.

You know:

The good people who don't want the riff-raff and crowds that will come with the 22 story buidling being built at Ashby and Bissonnet.

The good people who live in Afton Oaks who don't want MetroRail running thru their pristine neighborhood destorying the fabiric of their society with poor people. (i.e. blacks & hispanics)

The good people of the Heights who bemoan the loss of their grand ol' ways of life because of the atrocity of a Wal-Mart besmirching the fabric of their society and bringing in untold numbers of low-life. (i.e. poor, blacks, hispanics)

Or the building of an old folks home because it will ruin their perfect little world of jaunting down to a safe and sanitized "world market" experience and bring in hordes of cane-toting gang-bangers.

The good people of Midtown who are gnashing their teeth that a non-profit is moving in that will feed the hungry (and not even at that site) and bring in hordes of alcolholic stalkers who demand protection money. (i.e. mentally ill, homeless, poor people)

Especially the last two - the Heights and Midtown used to be full of minorities and poor people and nothing else because nobody wanted to live there. Then they were "discovered" - when were they lost again? - and people started pushing the minorites out. Only its a subtle thing - they call it gentrification - but it has the same effect. Everybody looks like everybody else and they are all the same socio-economic class and everybody is happy about their wonderful world.

But it's the suburbs who are racist. <_<

Why'd you quote me? I never hinted that these areas were racist. They just didn't utilize the provided bus service. But since we're on the subject now, I agree, your average suburbanite doesn't want "illegals" or "Obama supporters" (nice code words by the way) riding into their neighborhoods. I never understood that line of thinking though. Believe it or not, "thugs" drive so they could just drive into the neighborhood and clean out the place. Makes much more sense than riding unreliable Metro buses and trying to haul a 60' flat screen TV back to "da hood" via the same unreliable Metro service.

It's not limited to the suburbs or white people. I'm sure the new urbanites of all colors and creeds don't like Metro buses rumbling down their streets, but unfortunately for them, the buses, much like the freight trains they also loathe, were there first.

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People in the suburbs fear the possibility of blacks and mexicans riding around their neighborhoods.

This is why I quoted you. If you are not hinting that the suburbs are racist - what on earth are you hinting? Half the suburbs are full of minorities. Why would they not want themselves to drive around in their own neighborhoods? Why would they only fear two groups of people not like them being in their neighborhood if they were not harboring racist tendencies. That is definately what you are implying.

I was just pointing out that basically everybody is racist/bigoted. Every neighborhood wants everybody in it to be just like them and they start throwing up arguments/rules/defenses to keep the "others" out. Whether it is suburbs saying no to buses, the Heights throwing a hissy fit about Wal-Mart, ad nauseum.

By the way - what is an "average suburbanite" who doesn't like Obama supporters? Is it the black family living in Missouri City attending Windsor Village UMC on Sunday? Or maybe the black family in Pearland, or the hispanic family in Pasadena, or the hispanic family in Rosenberg? You seem to have a vision of the suburbs as a place of lily-white glowing faces that are all huddled in their living rooms around a KKK hood hiding from the roving brown invasion on public transportation. There might be some suburbs like that - but the reality is they are a big splattering of color. I think the real segregation comes is by income rather than by race. Things in the suburbs are definately segregated there - and that is by structural defination. But it also exists in the inner city.

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  • The title was changed to METRO's November 6, 2012 Ballot to Expand Bus Service and Reduce Debt

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