San Antonio — Streetcar Feasibility Study Underway
Rail Transit Online, May 2009
A four-month study by Jacobs Engineering has begun into the feasibility of restoring streetcars in San Antonio. Sponsored by VIA Metropolitan Transit and the Downtown Alliance, the Inner-City Rail Circulator Study will examine routes through downtown and beyond, possibly as far south as U.S. 90 and as far north as Alamo Heights.
The Downtown Alliance brought Rick Gustafson, executive director of Portland Streetcar Inc., to San Antonio to discuss his system's success. "The issue is being able to put together the money,"
According to Ben Brewer, president of the Downtown Alliance, the cost for San Antonio's system would be about $30 million per mile ($18.6 per km). But the return in the form of development, according to Gustafson, would be substantial.
More than $3.5 billion has been
invested within two blocks of the Portland Streetcar and more than half of all the development in the central business district is
occurring within a block of the tracks. "Some of it would have happened anyway," said Brewer, "but many projects happened because of the streetcar line."