In addition to budgetary issues and local politics, Lewis suggests a lot of what's holding the city back is its attitude towards itself as a"car-dependent" place.
"Before any problem actually manifests itself, it has seeds in ideas. A major, almost ideological obstacle to improving Houston's public transportation is the enduring notion in this town (and the country at large) that one absolutely needs a car to be anybody, or to do anything. Is it true? Partially. And a lot of its truth stems from the layout of the city itself, as Houston is the only urban area in America with no formal zoning laws. However, George Washington University law student Michael Lewyn interestingly contests this notion, explaining that Houston's auto-dependence can be blamed on other factors as well. I believe that auto dependence in Houston has only become a self-fulfilling prophecy because of preconceived notions held about the city."