The history? This is just the latest in years of anti-rail legal tactics.


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While rail transit has finally gained widespread public support in Houston, the opponents continue to mount narrow legal challenges. Once again, rail opponents hope to achieve in court what they can no longer achieve at the ballot box:

Sept 1999 - METRO board endorses a 7-mile light rail system from downtown to the Astrodome
Jan 2000 - Design team begins work on the Main Street line
May 2000 - Suburban Congressman Tom DeLay moves to kill $65 million in federal funding for the line
Oct 2000 - Federal transportation bill passes with DeLay’s language barring METRO from spending any federal dollars on rail in fiscal 2001; METRO Board decides to proceed with local funding
Nov 2000 - Houston City Council authorizes METRO to use city streets for Main Street line
Dec 2000 - Rail opponents file a petition with 1,100 signatures requesting the City of Houston hold a referendum before building the Main Street line; City Attorney rules they need 20,000 to force the vote
Jan 2001 - Rail opponents sue to try to force the City to hold an election; State district judge issues restraining order to prohibit work on rail until lawsuit can be heard
Mar 2001 - State court rules unanimously to lift injunction; METRO breaks ground on Main Street line
Jun 2001 - Rail opponents appeal decision; Texas Supreme Court refuses to stop work on the line or require a referendum
Oct 2001 - Rail opponents get Proposition 3 on the ballot which, if passed, would require an election be held about the Main Street line (and requires the line to be torn up if that election fails) and requires election on any future rail lines
Nov 2001 - In a City election, 74% of Houston voters approve Mayor Brown’s Proposition 1 that lets work continue on the Main Street rail line but guarantees a referendum on any future extensions; voters reject Proposition 3

May 2003 - METRO holds public meetings regarding Solutions transit expansion plan
Aug 2003 - METRO board approves ballot resolution to put Solutions plan before voters
Oct 2003 - Texans for True Mobility, led by suburban developer Michael Stevens and Congressman John Culberson, and funded in part by Congressman Tom Delay, spends $1.5 million on anti-rail “issue education” ads to oppose METRO referendum
Nov 2003 - In a City election, METRO Solutions referendum is approved by voters with more than a 9,000 vote margin
Jan 2004 - Main Street light rail line opens in time for Super Bowl

Dec 2005 - Rail opponents get state Rep. Martha Wong to preemptively announce opposition to any future Richmond alignment
Jan 2006 - Rail opponents get Congressman Culberson to urge METRO to build the University line on Westpark
Apr 2006 - Houston City
Council members host 9 public forums for University line
Jun 2006 - METRO holds first scoping meetings for University line; RichmondRail.org becomes first grassroots group in Houston history to fight FOR rail on a specific street

Jul 2006 - More than 1,000 Houstonians sign RichmondRail.org’s petition supporting rail on Richmond
Aug 2006 - Congressman Culberson asks METRO to take Richmond alignment off the table
Nov 2006 - In a state and federal election, Martha Wong draws only 38% of the vote in precincts along University corridor and loses seat to Ellen Cohen; John Culberson’s support falls from 25% to around 18% of the vote in precincts along University line corridor, but he is reelected due to
support in west Harris County.
Dec 2006 - METRO board approves three final options for the University line west of Main Street: two on Richmond as far west as Greenway Plaza, and one along the Southwest Freeway
Jan 2007 - Congressman Culberson urges METRO to build rail along Southwest Freeway, and pledges to keep “fighting to keep rail off of Richmond”
Feb 2007 - President Bush’s budget includes federal funds for METRO’s North and Southeast transit lines
Mar 2007 - Public supporters of rail on Richmond outnumber opponents at Congressman’s town hall meeting; almost 3,000 sign petition of support for Richmond
Apr 2007 - Rail opponents introduce House Bill 1813 to gut METRO board; Texans for True Mobility spokesman Chris Begala testifies in its favor; lacking legislative support, the bill is left to die in committee
Apr 2007 - Rail opponents file “202 motion” request to seek court authorization to depose METRO and seek evidence of wrongdoing, not just on the University line but on other corridors

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