Texas State Senate unanimously approves new transit legislation

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Release Date:     May 6, 2015

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The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) is the region’s largest public transit provider, offering safe, reliable and affordable transportation services about 370,000 times per day. METRO operates more than 1,200 buses, and METRO's New Bus Network is coming soon. For a good picture of where we are headed see our new system map. METRO is currently expanding its 13-mile Red Line with two new lines under construction. Other METRO services include: Star Vanpool, METROLift, HOV lanes, HOT lanes, Bikes-on-Buses/Trains program, Park & Ride, and road improvement projects. Learn more about METRO visit ridemetro.org where you can download our information about our T.R.I.P. app and our interactive rider tool METRO 360 [take a seat].  


METRO Applauds Passage of Bill to Enhance Board Stability

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) today applauded the unanimous approval of transit legislation by the Texas State Senate, that is designed to enhance Board stability, provide for an orderly transition of Board members and initiate continuity from year to year. Currently, the Texas Transportation Code provides for the appointment, composition, terms, and term limitations of the members of the METRO Board of Directors.

SB 2059 was authored by Sen. Paul Bettencourt and backed by city, county and multi-city officials. It will accelerate an existing provision in METRO’s "Enabling Legislation" to increase the number of METRO Board members from nine to 11 including an additional appointee from Harris County.

"The passage of this bill is a great example of what can be accomplished when parties work together.  Harris County, the City of Houston, METRO and the multi-cities within the METRO service area, with my office, came together to work on this good governance bill," said Sen. Bettencourt. "I'm honored the parties asked me to carry this important legislation.  I look forward to continuing to work it through the House and on to Gov. Abbott's desk."

When METRO was created in 1978, the "Enabling Legislation" stated METRO's Board of Directors should grow along with the region's population. In 1979, METRO started with seven board members. In 1982, METRO's Board increased to nine members. METRO's Board of Directors is made up of five City of Houston appointees, two Harris County appointees, and two multi-city appointees.

This change reflects what is anticipated to happen as the population continues to grow in the unincorporated areas of Harris County.

The proposed legislation allows for good governance practices, including staggered odd/even year appointments of Board members and timely appointments.

"Given the great cooperation among the city, county and multi-city represenatives, it makes sense to provide better representation for the people of Harris County now, rather than waiting for the next census to trigger a change in the number of Board members," said METRO Board Chairman Gilbert Garcia.

METRO thanks the Texas Senate, and especially Sen. Bettencourt for his support in authoring and sponsoring SB 2059 to improve transit for today's commuters and anticipating the region's future needs.