A FORMAL groundbreaking was held on March 13 for the 12 km Main Street light rail line in Houston, after a state appeals court unanimously overturned a temporary injunction that had stalled the project for six weeks. Houston Mass Transit Authority CEO Shirley DeLibero estimated that the court action by city councillor and light rail opponent Rob Todd had added around $3m to the $300m project cost.

The MTA board met on the same day to award contracts to Texas-Sterling Construction Inc (sections 2, 3 and 5, $65m), Beers Construction Co (section 1, $35·9m) and Bencon Management (section 4, $13·8m). The $117·9m systems package covering rolling stock and power supplies was awarded to Siemens Transportation Systems Inc for $117·9m. The 15 double-articulated cars will have 70% low floors. The line is expected to open in 2004. n