Architect offers new San Antonio streetcar route

Written by Douglas John Bowen

San Antonio residents mulling a streetcar plan for Texas' third-largest metropolitan area have a new route option to ponder, courtesy of a local architect providing input at a local meeting soliciting public input.

VIA Metropolitan Transit unveiled  the new suggested route Tuesday, July 30, 2013, local media report.

Current plans call for two streetcar routes, one east-west and one north-south, with the east-west route, running on Commerce and Market streets, installed first. Opposition from some groups have made a stop at The Alamo an unlikely prospect.

VIA’s board of directors is expected to make a final decision on an initial route by the end of August.

Supporters of the streetcar plan met with Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx Tuesday in Washington, D.C., seeking federal funding assistance for the project. The group included VIA Board Chairman Henry Munoz III, VIA President and CEO Jeffrey Arndt, Texas Transportation Commission Chairman Ted Houghton, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro. 

In October 2011 the San Antonio City Council approved initial plans for the line, committing $40 million to the overall project. Costs beyond any federal funding assistance are to be shared by the city, Bexar County, and VIA Metropolitan Transit.

San Antonio, with a population of about 1.33 million, is the second-largest city in Texas, and the only one of the top five cities in the state without any form of urban rail transit.