Mayor Scarcella heads to DC in support of Passenger Rail

By Karen Daniels 

SC_ScarcellaAt the June 4th City Council meeting, after a mid-year, state of the city address by Councilman Willis, Mayor Scarcella presented Council with a letter addressed to METRO of Houston in support of passenger rail on US 90A. The Mayor spoke of a meeting the prior week with Congressman Al Green, Congressman John Culberson, Mayor Allen Owen and “10 distinguished civil leaders who are all very much interested in the 90A project.” This letter states that Stafford City Council will authorize their full “support for this most needed passenger rail.” The proposed passenger rail route would run on 90A from downtown Houston to Present Street, which is the dividing line between Missouri City and Stafford. However, METRO has other plans for the funds and their future transit.

Congressman Al Green and Congressman John Culberson, according to Mayor Scarcella, are both in support of the 90A project, though normally these two Congressmen who are from “opposite poles, (are now) advocating the same thing.” Congressman Culberson is the US Representative of Texas’s 7th district. He is also a member of the House Appropriations Committee which is responsible for funding the federal government. METRO’s current passenger rail plans are for Richmond Avenue in Houston. According to Mayor Scarcella, Congressman Culberson has been clear about not wanting this project on Richmond Avenue, but “doesn’t want to be put into a position of saying, I cost Houston millions of dollars.”

This will be up for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives with discussion beginning on the floor of the House on Monday, June 9, in Washington DC with Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx. Mayor Scarcella will be in attendance for this meeting. Additionally, there will be a request that provisions for any funding set aside for Richmond Avenue, be re-designated for 90A.

Councilman Willis asked when this money would be available. The Mayor explained that even though Congressman Culberson is on the appropriations committee, “he has to have the support of the administration in order to make the appropriations committee receptive” to this project. Councilman Mathew made the motion to sign the drafted letter and have the Mayor attend this meeting in Washington. The motion passed unanimously.

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