Reed: Questions about cost of rail expansion "remain largely unanswered"
The Examiner News' Michael Reed posts this update on the ongoing debate over the cost of METRO's planned light-rail expansion:
The Metro Transit Authority signed a contract last week with Parsons Transportation Group to build the next phase of four more light rail lines in Houston.
Still, questions about the cost of at least two of those lines, raised at the board meeting Feb. 19 by longtime Richmond rail foe Paul Magaziner, remain largely unanswered.
The contract, which was initially agreed to by the board last month, was valued at $1.46 billion with a portion of that Phase 2 funding going to the construction of North and Southeast corridors at amounts of $387 million and $441 million, respectively.
However, a March 23 letter of no prejudice from the Federal Transit Administration to Frank Wilson, Metro board president, said the current net project cost estimate for the North Corridor is more than double that amount — almost $896.8 million.
A similar letter from the FTA concerning the Southeast Corridor placed its net cost estimate at $911.2 million.
Adding to the confusion, each set of numbers was provided by Metro.
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