Rail projects not likely to be part of Houston transit plan presented to voters

RELATED TOPICS: TRANSIT | LIGHT RAIL | TEXAS
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HOUSTON — The Houston Metro transit agency is preparing to go to voters for approval of long-term transit plans, but some possible rail projects won’t be presented to voters.

A proposal for a light rail line along Washington Avenue to downtown is not far enough along to be included in the first round of projects. Neither is a rail extension to the city’s Hobby Airport.

The Houston Chronicle reports that voters are likely to be asked in November to approve $3.5 billion in loans to finance those projects, part of a $7.5 billion plan to improve transit over the next 20 years.

Voters will not be asked to increase taxes — Metro already collects a 1% tax — but to allow the agency to borrow against future tax income.

The Washington Avenue project requires more analysis and is facing strongly divided opinions among neighborhood groups, while a route for an extension to the airport has yet to be determined.

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