The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County is seeking $33.8 million in federal grants, on top of the $5 million awarded in late February, to upgrade stops, shelters and signage along Westheimer Road in Houston.

“The project is ultimately customer focused with improving the experience of speed, reliability and access improvements,” said Albert Lyne, METRO’s deputy chief strategy officer, during a Feb. 16 finance and audit committee meeting.

The funding would be used for a Westheimer Boost project, which includes its entire bus operating system in a certain area. The organization plans to upgrade its sidewalks, crosswalks, accessibility and shelters along the highly traveled 82 Westheimer route to make it easier for riders to walk or use mobile-enhancing equipment such as wheelchairs as well as providing real-time digital information on when their buses would arrive.

The 82 Westheimer METRO line runs east to west across the city from downtown Houston through Montrose, the Galleria and farther out west to the West Oaks area. According to the organization’s 2022 annual budget, the METRO Boost project is expected to cost more than $30 million. Houston officials, including U.S. Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, have so far secured $5 million, and if the city wins the award, it could receive close to $39 million in funding, nearly $3 million over what METRO projected the project costs to be in both 2022-24.
The deadline for all applicants who wish to receive federal funding is due Feb. 28, and METRO authorities expect an announcement, if awarded, in the summer.