Houston politicians eye METRORail link to Hobby Airport as Congress mulls $2 trillion infrastructure bill

Shelia Jackson Lee
Although The American Jobs Plan has yet to reach President Joe Biden’s desk, area officials are planning their spending priorities, including the expansion of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County’s METRORail service. (Courtesy HTV)

Although The American Jobs Plan has yet to reach President Joe Biden’s desk, area officials are planning their spending priorities, including the expansion of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County’s METRORail service. (Courtesy HTV)

Houston-area politicians and transportation representatives are eyeing a potential METRORail extension to William P. Hobby Airport if Congress passes a proposed $2.2 trillion infrastructure bill, local leaders announced April 1.

“If the president’s plan is implemented, it will be transformative for our community,” said U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston.

The American Jobs Plan, unveiled by the White House on March 31, has yet to be deliberated by Congress. If passed as proposed, it would set aside about $620 billion for infrastructure improvements, $300 billion for affordable housing, and $300 billion for manufacturing and small businesses, among other spending priorities, Jackson Lee said. As proposed, the eight-year effort would be funded by raising corporate taxes.

“No one making under $400,000 will see any impact from this great plan,” Jackson Lee said.

The amount of funding that would be allocated to Texas and the city of Houston has not yet been determined, Jackson Lee said.


“The reason why I am so optimistic and I am announcing this today ... is because we are the second-largest state in the country, and we cannot be ignored,” she said.

Although the measure has yet to reach President Joe Biden’s desk, area officials are planning spending priorities, including the expansion of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County’s METRORail service. While the most significant extension would connect service to Hobby Airport, Jackson Lee said, a broader network of smaller extensions is also being considered.

The potential work comes alongside METRO's $7.5 million bond program, which voters passed in November 2019. The bond program prioritizes funding for expanding bus rapid transit service including to George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

In addition to the bill’s mass transit priorities, Jackson Lee said, funding would also be set aside for bridge and street repairs and other public works priorities.
By Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered public health, education and features for several Austin-area publications. A Boston native, she is a former student athlete and alumna of The University of Texas at Austin.