The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County will host the first of three public meetings Feb. 7 to get feedback on a proposed new corridor to provide rapid bus service in the Gulfton area.

The meeting will take place from 6-8 p.m. Feb. 7 at the BakerRipley Gulfton Sharpstown campus gym, 6500 Rookin St., Houston.

The goal of the corridor is to provide more reliable connectivity to employment, recreation, education and cultural opportunities in the area, according to METRO officials. Buses currently operate in mixed traffic, whereas the MetroRapid corridor—described as light rail on wheels by METRO—would allow them to operate in their own dedicated lanes.

The corridor would connect the Gulfton area to the Westpark/Lower Uptown Transit Center at I-69 and continue to the Northwest Transit Center at Loop 610 and Hwy. 290. From the Northwest Transit Center, riders can connect to 16 different bus routes to elsewhere in the city.

The Gulfton area is home to some of the highest demand for public transportation services in METRO's service area, according to METRO data.

The project is part of the METRONext plan, a collection of $7 billion in planned improvements that are expected to be funded through $3.5 billion in bonding authority and another $3.5 billion in matching grants.

In September, METRO's board adopted a nearly $1.8 billion budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year, the largest budget in the agency's history. A total of $125.5 million will go toward METRONext projects.

Planning for the Gulfton Corridor began in 2022. A more specific route will be selected following the public input process, at which point a detailed cost estimate will be determined for the project.

METRO officials said they intend to pursue federal funding in 2024 to help support the project. Once started, construction could take two years to complete.

Another public meeting will take place from 6-8 p.m. Feb. 9 at the same BakerRipley Campus with a Spanish language presentation. A third meeting will take place from 10 a.m.-noon on Feb. 11 at the Burnett-Bayland Park Community Center, 6000 Chimney Rock Road, Houston. The third meeting will feature both English and Spanish presentations.

Learn more about the Gulfton Corridor here.