(Houston, TX -- KUHF) As work on Houston's new light rail lines reaches the halfway point, Metro is now looking at plans for the area's first commuter rail line that would bring people into the city from the suburbs.
Right now Metro is gathering public input on the proposed US 90A/Southwest Rail Corridor. It would be a nine-mile line that would bring commuters from Missouri City to the Fannin South Station. Riders could then hook up with the Red Line that runs through downtown and the Medical Center.
Metro's Jerome Gray says they're estimating about 24,000 people a day would use the new line to travel into the city from the southwest. "That corridor, that area, census projections show that we're going to see quite a population boom, about 25 percent until 2035."
Gray says they're looking at two proposed track alignments that would run along Highway 90 and they're now studying how the rail line would affect the local environment. They also have to figure out how to pay for the project, which is expected to cost about $500 million.
"While we're still going through the process of considering and figuring out where the money would come from," Gray says, "we also have to go ahead with this FTA (Federal Transit Administration) process, this environmental impact study, and the various things that we must do before requesting any type of federal assistance."
Construction on the line is still several years away and could start close to 2020.
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