Today, the House Appropriations Committee approved the 2013 spending bill for the Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development which included two provisions authored by Rep. Culberson. The first will protect homeowners and businesses owners along Richmond Avenue and Post Oak Boulevard by preventing Houston METRO from building grade-level rail lines on those streets which METRO and the FTA have confirmed are unaffordable and unnecessary.
The Richmond line was not on the ballot that was narrowly approved by voters in 2003. "My primary responsibilities as a congressman include protecting the taxpayers and protecting the quality of life of our neighborhoods, said Rep. Culberson. "This new law will also require METRO to honor the 2003 ballot language and prevent more rail from being built than the taxpayers can afford."
The second provision added by Rep. Culberson directs the Inspector General of the Department of Transportation to conduct a detailed financial audit and stress test of Houston METRO. "For years Houston METRO has demonstrated a pattern of deceiving the public about the scale and costs of the rail plan and their ability to pay for it," continued Rep. Culberson. "I appreciate the new Board's transparency, but it was like pulling teeth to get them to admit what I already knew: METRO cannot afford to build new lines on Richmond and Post Oak. I am very concerned that METRO is building more than they can afford at the expense of the excellent bus service it has operated for years. This audit will verify for the taxpayers exactly what METRO can and cannot afford."