HOUSTON Federal matching funds will help METRO complete two new rail lines, METRO president and CEO George Greanias announced Wednesday.

Greanias made the announcement as he gave his annual State of Metro presentation to the Greater Houston Partnership. The theme of his presentation: METRO is strong and getting stronger.

At times, he sounded like a motivational speaker.

Whether it s a bus, a trolley, a taxi cab, a train or, God forbid, a yak, I will move people around this town, said Greanias.

He said the deal will be sealed on $900 million in federal grants later this month.

It s the first time in the history of this region where federal money has been received for public transit rail, said Greanias. That s a major step forward.

The announcement came at a time when METRO is already more than $1 billion in debt, up $350 million since the end of August. It s the result of new sales and use tax bonds.

That is METRO s equivalent of a mortgage, said Greanias. We re building capital project. You borrow money to build capital projects.

If you build rail, he says, they will ride.

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