in Houston, Texas
GOP lawmakers could curb funding for rail, including Houston Metro's light-rail expansion
Monday, Jan 31, 2011, 11:29AM CST
By Mark Lisheron
Houston Metro train

A conservative Republican revolt against the creation of federally-funded American rail systems continues with a pledge to kill an urban transit program that has at least $900 million in its budget for Houston.

"We believe that Congress would not act in bad faith for cities," Mayor Annise Parker told the Chronicle, "not just Houston but cities across the country that have expended funds with the expectation that those funds would be reimbursed."

The Chronicle reported on reaction from Texas' officials in Washington:

"Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, has appealed to Obama in a personal letter, urging him to 'carefully examine' funding for Houston's light rail projects that transport employees of 26 Fortune 500 companies and 3,000 other Houston firms engaged in business in 200 countries worldwide. 'These projects exemplify urban mobility, jobs, economic prosperity, energy independence and sustainable growth for our city,' Jackson Lee wrote the president. ...

"'I certainly know the popularity of Metro in Houston and the importance of investing in transportation infrastructure,“ says Sen. John Cornyn, R-San Antonio, a member of the Senate Budget Committee. 'But at the same time, we have to say there's no money left. Everybody is going to have to suffer a little pain to get the country back on a sound financial footing.'"

Republican candidates this past fall made Obama's $10.5 billion in taxpayer-funded stimulus money for high-speed rail a political issue. The new conservative governors of Wisconsin and Ohio made good on campaign promises rejecting a total of more than $1 billion, which the U.S. Department of Transportation promptly redistributed to other states.

Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or


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Photo of Houston Metro train by flickr user DandyDanny, used via a Creative Commons license.

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