VIA Metropolitan Transit

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San Antonio's streetcar project hit a major hurdle Monday when city council asked city staff to draft an ordinance that would withdraw the city's $32 million contribution from the project.

Joey Palacios / TPR News

The city of Castle Hills is considering removing VIA and VIA Trans service from it’s city boundaries.

If the Castle Hills City Council approves it, the citizens of the small San Antonio suburb will be able to vote on whether or not to remove VIA from the city. Acting Castle Hills Mayor Timothy Howell, who was placed into the position last week, said he’s not taking a side on the issue yet.

“I think it’s very important that we allow the citizens to decide what they want to do moving forward,” Howell said.

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A new economic impact study has tried to put a tangible number on the intangibles of the benefits from investing in streetcars.

$1.3 billion over 25 years is the expected benefit to the city for the $280 million investment.

The study, conducted by The SABÉR Research Institute, says the 5.9 mile streetcar route will spur development and the ascent of property values. 

VIA Metropolitan Transit

VIA Metropolitan Transit has released a commissioned study showing a $1.3 billion economic impact along the routes of its proposed streetcar system. Those opposed to the street car system say the transit authority is paying for exactly what they want to hear.

The economic impact study commissioned by the SABÉR Institute at St. Mary’s University and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce predicts a multi-billion dollar return on investment over 25 years through VIA’s initial $280 million.

VIA Metropolitan Transit

Mounting pressure on the city of San Antonio and VIA Metropolitan Transit to stop their construction of a streetcar system has grown.

In the last few months, the political landscape has changed surrounding the project: San Antonio notables like Red McCombs and state Rep. Lyle Larson have come out against the plan, Mayor Julián Castro is soon to depart to lead the U.S. department of Housing and Urban Development, and opponents say they will be able to get a charter amendment requiring a public vote added to the ballot in November.