If the paper-shredding scandal were not enough ... it seems the Metropolitan Transit Authority aka Metro has more problems than it can handle.
Remember the rail lines approved by voters in 2003 ... yeah that 2003 when Michael Jordan was still playing basketball and YouTube did not exist? Well, seven years later the City of Houston has only the Red Line to brag about as the other five lines wait in some sort of public transit purgatory.
It isn't like Houstonians do not want public transportation. The only light rail in the city has a daily ridership of close to 40,000 and is ranked as the eleventh most traveled light rail system in the United States. If that is not an impressive statistic, consider the fact that the Red Line has the second highest ridership per track mile.
On Wednesday, Mayor Annise Parker shed light into information provided by her transition team that Metro finances will not be able to fund all the rail lines. Three out of 5 isn't too bad though. Parker disclosed that the East End (Brown), North (Blue) and Southeast (Green) lines have the funding necessary to complete the projects. The Uptown (Pink) and University (Orange) lines are in limbo as Metro officials crunch the numbers.
Parker plans to honor her promise to clean house at Metro, as she will also appoint five new members to the nine-member Metro board next week.
This announcement comes during the week where Metro Chief Executive Frank Wilson was accused by attorney Michael West of having an "inappropriate relationship" with his chief of staff, Joanne Wright in a temporary orders hearing that ended with the judge ordering Metro to not destroy any more documents.
Metro Board Chairman David Wolff is still confident that Metro will able to fund all the proposed light rail lines. Earlier in the week, Metro released their plans to issue $2.6 billion in bonds to finance the rail lines and expects $700 million in federal funding from the Federal Transit Administration.
Metro will need to figure out how to make it rain soon if it plans on delivering the five rail lines that voters approved in 2003. As Notorious B.I.G. aka Biggie Smalls once eloquently stated, "It's like the more money we come across, the more problems we see."
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