Out of Control Policy Blog

Light railís Super Bowl worries

Houston was so excited to show its new light rail line to the world, then safety concerns disrupted service:

When the NFL awarded Super Bowl XXXVIII to Houston, league officials told the city it was critical to complete the planned Main Street light rail line to help ease access to downtown.

And although the train line was indeed completed in time, it wasn't ferrying passengers into the heart of downtown's party central Friday night.

Too many merrymakers mingling in the streets, attending the free Main Event and posh parties at clubs, meant the odds of a disaster were too high.

"It's a safety issue," said Metro spokeswoman Maggi Stewart. "I think that is the most important concern."

So for the second consecutive night, Metro on Friday stopped its regular light rail at the Downtown Transit Center at St. Joseph Parkway at the southern edge of downtown, about a dozen blocks from the main action.

The line was eventually back on track. Good thing there weren't any more crashes.

This ESPN writer saw a legend in the making:

The light rail has been the running joke of the trip -- people are telling apocryphal stories about these accidents, and you never know what to believe anymore. It's like a cross between Billy Joel's Mercedes and the Boogey Man.

Then again this celebrity journalist wasn't complaining:

Public transportation is very good in Houston. Between buses and the light rail system, one can pretty much get around the entire city for $2 a day. That's very good, considering Houston is the fourth largest city in the nation.

Of course, tourists are often transit's biggest fans. But really, how 'bout those Pats?

Ted Balaker is Producer


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