VIA Metropolitan Transit

Eileen Pace / TPR News

VIA is disappointed in the change of heart by the city and county on streetcar, but the transit authority plans to move forward in other directions while deferring its current plan for the project.

Friday, standing among dozens of VIA employees at a news conference, VIA Chairman Alex Briseño said the transit authority is moving forward; just not with the streetcar project that had been in the works.

The plan forward now, he said, includes expanded PRIMO routes, constructing multi-modal centers, and focus on VIA's long-range plan for 2035 that was approved three years ago.

VIA Metropolitan Transit

Despite the derailment of San Antonio’s streetcar, the petition that called for a vote on the issue may still put a charter change on the November ballot.

TPR obtained the results of the petition drive, which is seeking a charter amendment change so that voters could have a say on the streetcar project. The city's election code says 20,000 signatures are needed.

The clerk's office found that more than 12,000 are valid and another 8,800 are also valid if the circulator affidavit isn't required. The circulator affidavit is to verify that those signing are real people.

Joey Palacios / TPR News

VIA's multi-million dollar modern streetcar plan will have to take a new track as the city and county have indicated both will withdraw their support from the project. The city of San Antonio stated its intent to remove it’s $32 million pledge, leaving many to cheer or chastise its decision.

The decision to remove funding by the city and county took both supporters and opponents of VIA’s multimillion dollar modern street car plan by surprise. But that doesn’t mean the plan is completely dead.

Ryan Loyd / TPR News

The city may be backing down from its streetcar support, but Mayor Ivy Taylor said she believes there could be room for discussion of a more comprehensive project that has public support.

During a one-on-one conversation with TPR Tuesday, she said politics notwithstanding, the community's voice is really what directed the council's decision on VIA's current proposed streetcar project.

After Mayor Ivy Taylor's surprise announcement yesterday that the city of San Antonio would be asking for the $32 million it gave to VIA Metro Transit for the modern streetcar, many questions about the future of streetcar and downtown development were left unanswered.

The decision comes after months of intense political and public pressure on the city to put the measure on the November ballot.