Wednesday, September 25, 2013

San Antonio streetcar gets green light

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VIA Metropolitan Transit trustees unanimously passed a proposal for a San Antonio, Tex., streetcar system on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, roughly two years after the idea was first introduced for official consideration.

VIA trustees also voted to ask staff to come back with a phasing plan, to determine options on proceeding with construction of the initial 5.9-mile, $280 million line.

Construction is scheduled to start in 2015, with revenue service beginning in late 2017, according to current plans.

The transit agency so far has lined up $210 million in funding from city, San Bexar County, its own budget, and other sources. Federal funding is being pursued to fill the existing shortfall.

Though not finalized, the current streetcar plans include both an east-west route and a north-south counterpart. The combination, while costing more, is considered the best option in attracting sufficient ridership.

The unanimous vote of 6-0 excluded three trustees who recused themselves due to potential charges of conflict of interest, raised mostly by opponents of the plan. A fourth trustee, with no such issues, was not present for the vote.