Houston-area rapid-transit project receives federal environmental OK

December 11, 2023

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has approved an environmental review for a 25-mile bus rapid transit (BRT) line that will increase mobility throughout Houston.

The FTA determined that the METRORapid University Corridor Project (MUCP) would have no adverse effect on historic or archeological properties. A major milestone, the federal greenlight paves the way for the project to enter the engineering phase in early 2024. 

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) will operate the line, using a dedicated bus lane to reduce travel times for commuters and offer fast, safe and reliable service across 42 stations.

Once completed, the line will provide high-capacity service to four colleges and universities as well as major employment and healthcare hubs. The MUCP is projected to break ground in 2024. Service launch is expected by 2029.  

The service will improve mobility and air quality, promote economic development and create a more equitable transportation system, METRO officials said. It will feature amenities similar to those offered by METRO’s light rail, including accessible platforms, level boarding, next-bus arrival signs, security cameras and lighting. Commuters will be able to provide off-board fare payment via ticket vending machines, electronic fare cards or mobile devices.  

Houston voters approved the project in 2019 as part of a $3.5 billion bond referendum to support the METRONext Moving Forward Plan.

The plan calls for 500 miles of travel improvements to support mobility in the Houston area without a tax increase. METRO is working with the FTA and will request up to a 60% federal match under the Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program to drive the project forward.

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Photo courtesy of METRO

Paul Stinson

Paul Stinson has more than 15 years of journalism experience, including a decade covering the legislative and regulatory affairs of Texas, South Africa, and Germany for an affiliate of Bloomberg, L.P. His experience includes covering voting rights and the sectors of environment, energy, labor, healthcare, and taxes. Stinson joined the team in October as a reporter for SPI’s news publications, which include Government Contracting Pipeline, Texas Government Insider, and the newly-launched Government Market News. He is also a Fulbright Scholar to Germany, and an Arthur F. Burns Fellow. He holds a master’s in journalism from Indiana University.   

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