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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Staff Editorial

Congressional tug-of-war puts Houston in trouble

The battle between Republicans and Democrats continues — but this time the battlefield is Houston, and what’s at risk is our future metropolitan transit.

Conservatives on Capitol Hill are threatening to chuck a federal mass transit program that promises at least $900 million for Houston Metro, according to an article published in the Houston Chronicle.

The New Starts program, which is one if the infrastructure investments Obama mentioned in his State of the Union, would pour $2 billion through the Federal Transit Administration, according to the Chronicle.

The $900 million that would come to Houston is something that would be great for the city. It would allow Houston residents more options when it comes to getting around town. It would also cut down on traffic and the amount of fuel we use in the city.

Those houses that used to stand along Wheeler Street were bought by Metro and are part of a light rail plan for the University. Those plans depend on the money that is at stake.

But what is right is clearly not the same when it comes to party identification.

“Republicans elected from suburban and rural congressional districts are targeting federal mass transit programs that traditionally benefit Democratic metropolitan congressional districts on the West and East Coasts,” the Chronicle wrote.

If the money fails to come to Houston, expect to see a lot of unused land and vacant lots. Don’t expect plans to change soon, either — if we miss our chance another one will be a long way off due to the budget deficit in Texas.

Annise Parker believes that the government will act in good faith and continue to fund or reimburse the cities that have already spent money on these transit projects. “We believe that Congress would not act in bad faith for cities — not just Houston, but cities across the country — that have expended funds with the expectation that those funds would be reimbursed,” Parker said.

The outlook of any expansions for Metro and Houston’s transit scenario are bleak. For these programs not to be cut the Republicans would have to cut something else, something they might like or something that would infuriate their voters.

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