Raw: New METRO light rail line opens for business

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by JUAN A. LOZANO / The Associated Press

khou.com

Posted on December 21, 2013 at 6:32 PM

HOUSTON (AP) - While Houston’s expansion of its light rail system won’t displace personal vehicles as the primary way residents get around this sprawling metropolis, officials say it’s an important component in their efforts to offer more transportation choices in the city.

The new 5.3-mile extension of the system’s current line made its debut on Saturday. It joins the 7.5-mile starter line, which began operating in 2004 and has a daily ridership of about 40,000 passengers. Two other lines are under construction and will be operational sometime next year.

The new light rail line cost $756 million to build, with about 60 percent of the funding coming from the federal government. It runs from downtown and goes through the city’s Northside neighborhood, a mixture of older homes, businesses and an industrial/warehouse area.

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