Friday, July 08, 2011

LRT or streetcar? San Antonio taps HNTB to help decide

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San Antonio’s VIA Metropolitan Transit has hired HNTB Corp. as a program manager to determine plans for an urban rail line. HNTB, with an office in the city, will work as VIA's in-house consultants to determine the potential rider market, route or routes, and whether light rail transit (LRT) or streetcar would better serve the city.

san_antonio_via_logo.jpgVIA has tentatively proposed north-south and east-west streetcar lines through San Antonio’s downtown, and hopes HNTB will help it pinpoint more exact routes.

“We're the glue that's going to be responsible for day-to-day focus on these efforts, supporting the staff here,” said Kyle Keahey, HNTB Corp.’s associate vice president and the VIA project program manager.

HNTB also will counsel VIA on finding the financial means to build any rail system, something Keahey says must occur before the Federal Transit Administration will consider providing any fiscal support. “As program manager, we will help you find the money,” Keahey said.

San Antonio, population 1.33 million, is the largest city in Texas without an urban rail transit system.