Air Alliance Houston Reaffirms Support for University Line Project Amid METRO Leadership’s Pause

Statement from Alexander Spike, Climate Justice Coordinator, Air Alliance Houston

“This week, frustrated Houstonians attended meetings of the Houston City Council, Harris County Commissioner’s Court, and METRO Board asking how long Houston has to wait before the University Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project is built. Air Alliance Houston (AAH) stands firm in its support for METRONext and its University Line BRT project due to their benefits for clean air and sustainable transportation.

“The University Line BRT is the centerpiece of METRONext, METRO’s capital improvement plan, approved by over 70% of Houston voters in 2019. The University Line BRT would provide 25 miles of BRT services to communities from Westchase in southwest Houston to Eastex/Jensen in the northeast. The corridor would provide transfers to half of METRO’s network and provide a traffic free, east-west rapid transit connection between job centers, population hubs, and key community institutions and universities.

“AAH recognizes the critical role of public transportation in mitigating climate change and reducing air pollution. With high quality, comfortable, convenient, and timely rapid transit, METRO can reduce air and climate pollution and improve the health and prospects of the 173,000 Houstonians who live within half a mile of the corridor by giving them an alternative to driving. Leading climate research suggests we need to double the public transit mode share every year for the next three years in order to reduce global warming. There is no action on climate without expansion of transit. METRONext and all of its constituent projects are the baseline action required to dent climate change in our ozone nonattainment area.

“In addition, AAH has modeled the potential health impacts of the project using the Houston Public Health Assessment Model (HPHAM) developed by Urban Design for Health. The University Line BRT will result in numerous health benefits for residents, including lower rates of Type 2 diabetes, depression, and high blood pressure as well as a decrease in community level healthcare costs and increased use of transit, walking, and biking. Overall, the project will improve access to reliable transit, improve the pedestrian realm, and decrease car use in the area—all of which provide significant environmental and health benefits.

“We stand in solidarity with environmental justice communities who risk being stranded again by an incomplete rapid transit network. The University Line BRT would serve numerous marginalized neighborhoods, providing much needed connectivity to the rest of the city. We urge the METRO Board to unpause this important project. Expanding public transportation and including every community is a climate and environmental justice issue.”


Media contact: Riikka Pohjankoski, [email protected], 713 589 7079

About Air Alliance Houston
Air Alliance Houston believes everyone deserves to breathe clean air. We support communities as they advocate for clean air and for their health. For decades, we have championed clean air through research, education and advocacy.

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