SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Planners are recommending that a streetcar system be built in downtown San Antonio that could serve up to 1.4 million passengers a year.
VIA Metropolitan Transit is pushing a streetcar route nearly 6 miles long and costing an estimated $280 million. Officials told the San Antonio Express-News (http://bit.ly/13KaYfT) that it would require $8.5 million annually to operate and maintain.
The VIA already has $210 million in place — a combination of state and city money along with sales tax revenue, and the transit said it needs at least another $70 million to build the electric-powered system in its entirety. The more likely plan is to build in phases, constructing tracks along roadways as federal funds become available.
The streetcars would share the road with regular traffic. One aim of the plan is to help VIA achieve its goal of removing downtown bus traffic.
Project consultant Kyle Keahey on Tuesday told a VIA committee that although the route resembles a continuous loop, the streetcars actually would operate on three separate routes, requiring transfers among them.
The VIA board of trustees is scheduled to vote on the plan Sept. 24.
Officials say the project would be fully designed by fall 2015, and at least part of the system could be operational by late 2017.
Information from: San Antonio Express-News, http://www.mysanantonio.com