Monday, June 23, 2014

San Antonio rail can proceed, city OK or no

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San Antonio rail can proceed, city OK or no VIA Metropolitan Transit

San Antonio City Attorney Robbie Greenblum has issued a memo noting VIA Metropolitan Transit is not required to obtain permission from the city to advance streetcar development along city rights-of-way.

Greenblum's memo was issued Friday, June 20, 2014, according to local media.

The attorney also said that should a proposed charter amendment being advanced by streetcar opponents should pass, it would only apply to future actions, not to the current plans already under way. Since the San Antonio City Council voted in 2011 to fund the streetcar project, any change to the city charter would not apply to the results of that vote.

VIA's own legal opinion holds that the Texas Transportation Code gives the agency authority to utilize city rights of way, regardless of what the charter says, affirmed by Greenblum's memo, and disputing assertions by anti-rail factions that the project can be stopped by a change to the charter.

Rail opponents still seek a vote on the charter amendment to be placed on the November ballot, obligating any future rail proposals to be put to a public vote.

Greenblum’s memo is the latest of several significant victories for San Antonio streetcar proponents this year, as efforts continue to commence construction in 2015.