The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County is considering a 40-year lease agreement with NewQuest Properties, a commercial real estate developer, to fund a $50 million park and ride facility near Hwy. 6 and the Fort Bend Parkway Toll Road.

The commuter park and ride will be located in Fort Bend Town Center III, NewQuest’s third phase of the Fort Bend Town Center development.

The METRO board of directors did not discuss the lease agreement during its Feb. 23 meeting. The item was pulled from the meeting and may be discussed as early as the March 23 board meeting, METRO Public Information Officer Monica Russo said.

If approved, the board will have a three-year window in which to decide whether to move forward with options A or B for financial and funding options, METRO Chief Financial Director George Fotinos said at the Joint Development and Land Use Committee meeting Feb. 15.

Under Option A, METRO would pay $325,000 in annual property rent with a 5% increase every five years, as well as a lump $51.7 million facility lease buyout. Option A transfers the financial burden to NewQuest and would make METRO eligible for grants, which Fotinos said the committee is already exploring.

Option B would see METRO pay an annual rent of $3.1 million for the facility as well as $325,000 in annual property rent. Similar to Option A, the rent would also escalate by 5% every five years.

Fotinos said Option A is the more attractive option, in part because U.S. Rep. Al Green, D-Houston, has committed to providing $5 million toward the project’s construction.

Regardless of the option chosen, METRO will not be financially liable under the lease agreement until the facility is completed. Once approved, it will take approximately 18 months to complete the parking garage, after which METRO will have exclusive use.