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San Antonio - October 2011

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San Antonio — City Council Funds Streetcar

Rail Transit Online, October 2011

An 8-1 vote by the city council on Oct. 20 to fund a proposed downtown streetcar circulator has virtually assured the project will be built.

The route, advocated by Mayor Julian Castro, would run east and north from the Alamodome to just north of Interstate 35 and replaces the original east-west alignment developed by VIA Metropolitan Transit.

The city will contribute $40 million to VIA's five-year transportation plan that also includes two downtown transit hubs and two park and ride facilities. The remainder of the funding will come from VIA, a special assessment district in the streetcar corridor and from Bexar County, which has promised $55 million for the rail line. Although anti-tax groups demanded that the project be tabled or put to a public vote, three chambers of commerce urged the council to move forward. The next step will be the drafting of an interlocal implementation agreement by the city, county and VIA.

Although plans, including the exact route, are not yet complete, it's anticipated that the streetcars will run in mixed traffic and have onboard energy storage to operate over unwired segments.

Future extensions could run east and south. VIA President and CEO Keith Parker said construction could begin within two years followed by revenue service in 2015 or 2016. San Antonio scrapped its original streetcar system in 1933.


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