Mayor Annise Parker pledges to build light rail to both airports

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In Tuesday’s mayoral debate, which was rendered nearly useless by the steady stream of wacky comments coming from the Green and Socialist Workers Party candidates, Mayor Annise Parker pledged to build light rail to both of Houston’s airports. Here is the tweet posted by campaign staff as she was speaking:

This tweet raises a few questions.

First, how will METRO pay for another round of rail boondoggles? The current rail expansion has broken METRO’s budget, forcing it to abandon promises made in the 2003 referendum.

Second, is the mayor’s reference to the city obtaining funds an acknowledgment that METRO is broke, and the city plans to pony up the money? Because the city’s books aren’t in better shape than METRO’s (especially if one takes into account the pension liability).

Finally, has the mayor forgotten that METRO’s luxury bus service between downtown and Intercontinental Airport suffered from lack of ridership, became a financial drain on a broke transit agency, and was discontinued (by her handpicked METRO chief George Greanias, no less)? Granted, METRO marketed and ran the service poorly, but the experience doesn’t really justify spending much larger sums of money to build slow light rail to BOTH airports. There is no evidence to suggest ridership would ever justify the expense.

One can’t help but wonder if the mayor was just pandering with her pledge.

And perhaps she needs to pander. In real polling, she’s trailing “Don’t Know.” And in’s online poll about the debate, challenger Eric Dick emerged as the winner.

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Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX


  1. I’d like to see a Venn diagram illustrating the intersection between two population demographics … people who use public transportation and people who fly regularly. I would guess the intersection between those two groups is essentially nil. Perhaps someone should tell Ms. Parker that this is not New York City. Neither is it Chicago, places where people might actually ride a train to the airport. More light rail is simply progressive wishful thinking, a form of lunacy that is, sadly, an epidemic just now.

  2. But, but but, lots of folks SAY they would love to see rail to the airport, especially since we can’t be a real city without such things. Nope, we are doing just fine as we are. It would be nice to see Yellow Cab have some real competition, though, rather than their rent seeking, regulatory capture scheme they have now.

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