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University Line: FTA brings Houstonians one step closer to a much needed east/west transit line.

METRO recently received good news from the Federal Transportation Authority (FTA) in the form of an official federal Record of Decision (ROD) regarding the proposed University Line. This official decision signifies final approval of the environmental review process along the 11.3-mile portion of the overall light rail expansion project. With this approval, METRO can now continue to evolve the design, engineering, utility coordination, pre-construction planning work and ongoing FTA coordination needed to move forward while renewing community outreach efforts to ensure businesses and the general public remain engaged in this historic project.

The University Line will feature 19 stations between the Hillcroft and Eastwood Transit Centers, with stops near Greenway Plaza, the University of St. Thomas, Texas Southern University and UH Central Campus. The project is part of a five-line rail plan that includes the East End, North, Uptown and Southeast Lines. The East End, North and Southeast lines are currently under construction, while the Uptown line is currently in the design phase.

METRO Chairman Gilbert Garcia praised the ongoing efforts of Houston Congressional leaders in supporting rail expansion and working to secure federal funds. “The environmental approval on the University Line puts us one big step forward in the federal funding process,” Garcia said.  “The Houston region owes a debt of gratitude to leaders like Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, as well as Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee, Gene Green and Al Green for their tireless efforts to fund light rail expansion in Houston.”

George Greanias, Acting President and CEO of METRO, says the agency is committed to responsible stewardship of the public’s transit dollars. “We appreciate all the work required to win federal funding: from Congressional and community leaders to the METRO staff. Houston clearly needs the University Line as an East-West transit artery. We’re extremely gratified the FTA has taken a big step in advancing this important project.”