Metro decision moves local Park and Ride forward

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One of the larger hurdles in getting a Park and Ride facility in Brazoria County was removed Dec. 18, when Houston Metro agreed to sell the land originally intended for a Park and Ride in Pearland.

Metro’s board unanimously agreed to authorize the sale of the site, and to transfer grand funding for the project to Brazoria County provider Connect Transit.

Metro originally purchased the land to build a facility to drivers on the increasingly congested 288 corridor — but later changed gears, announcing it would focus only within its immediate service area.

Undaunted, Pearland leaders continued to pursue a Park and Ride, contracting with the Gulf Coast Center and the Goodman Corporation for a transit study and consulting services.

“The traffic on 288, as everyone knows, is just dismal,” remarked Houston Metro Board Member Jim Robinson, who made the motion to sell the site and transfer the grants.

“What this basically does: We have about $4.2 million totally expended on this Pearland Park and Ride, of which 80 percent are Federal Transit Administration funds,” he said. “We have a recent appraisal on the property for $3.95 million. What this will authorize is transferring the property to Connect Transit in this case, that would reimburse us for the actual expenditure and 80 percent of what we are reimbursed would go back to the FTA; we would not keep it.”

The 80 percent federal share would be transferred.

Robinson added that earlier in December, Metro received an unsolicited offer for more than $5 million for the property.

“I don’t think it is in the best interest, though, of transit development to sell that to anybody other than an entity that would use it for mass transit purposes, and consequently I feel pretty strongly we need to proceed and give Pearland and Connect Transit the opportunity to develop a Park and Ride facility at this location.”

Based on estimates and a timeline by the Goodman Corp. the first buses for the planned Park and Ride would begin service in 2018.

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