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San Antonio - February 2012

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San Antonio — Legal Action Threatened

February 2012

Groups opposing the planned new streetcar system are claiming that county leaders violated a terms of a voter approved referendum when they allocated Advanced Transportation District (ATD) funds to the streetcar, according to MySanAntonio.com.

According to opponents, the Advanced Transportation District tax measure in 2004 was accompanied by literature promising that the trax proceeds would not be used for light rail or roads, and the opponents interpret streetcars as a form of light rail.

Legal action is threatened if the county does not reverse its decision to allocate funding from this bond measure to the streetcar. VIA Metropolitan Transit, Bexar County and the city of San Antonio last year approved construction of the $190 million streetcar running through downtown. The Country and VIA each committed to allocate $92 million to fund the line. The County would use the disputed bond funds and VIA would use its own bonding and funds budgeted for replacement of buses.

County Judge Newlson Wolff rejected the arugment against use of the ATD funds.

“I think they're wrong, obviously,” Wolff, a key supporter of both the prior light rail project and now the streetcar system, was quoted by MySanAntonio.com.

“First of all, it (streetcar) really isn't light rail,” Wolff said. “Streetcars run on a track that's not embedded very far, they make frequent stops. Light rail is a heavier rail that goes at much faster speeds ... and it costs twice as much to build.” He also said that the county had never said in its literature supporting the bonding measure that the funds would not be used for light rail. This position was backed by VIA executives.


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