I am old enough to remember how Metro was sold to Houston/Harris County voters. We'd have commuter rail (like Atlanta or DC) and it would unclog our freeways. 20 years later (after the promise of commuter rail morphed into a, get this, monorail) we got a light rail line from the Astrodome to downtown, used almost exclusively by Texas Medical Center employees traveling from a remote parking garage. It runs right down Main Street, literally a street car.
Meanwhile, as Metro works on its new trophy project, service to the working poor who rely on bus service has been cut back.
Bus ridership numbers also dropped dramatically, according to Metro documents, from about 80 million in 2005 to just a little more than 17 million during the last year.So after 30 years and many billions of dollars, we have a streetcar line for Medical Center employees that would be better served by some shuttle buses and another streetcar line in the works. But nothing that reduces congestion on our freeways for commuters out in the 'burbs who still pay the 1% Metro sales tax, and reduced service for the folks who truly need a cheap, reliable way to get to work.
As a snarky aside, congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee's video touting the latest Metro grant has received all of 16 views since it debuted 2 weeks ago.
I bet my tiny little blog will double her viewers!