An amendment to how streetcars will be funded is up for a vote Thursday at City Council as it considers $15 million from the downtown private sector.
Mike Frisbie, city engineer, said although streetcar support remains strong among downtown businesses, “The need for private sector contributions has changed.”
Ben Brewer, president of the Downtown Alliance, said those businesses already tax themselves through the Public Improvement District that pays the familiar yellow-shirted Amigos and other visitor services through Centro San Antonio in partnership with the Downtown Alliance.
Brewer said that is likely why those businesses did not want to see a Special Assessment District created for streetcars.
However, both Frisbie and Jeffrey Arndt, VIA interim president and CEO, said the level of government funding has increased for the five-year streetcar and transit improvement plan.
The City of San Antonio, Bexar County and VIA confirm $248 million is in place, including federal and state funding, to pay for streetcars, park and ride locations, a transit hub on the Westside, and other improvements downtown.
“The main thing it tells me as a relative newcomer to San Antonio is that this region is thinking regionally and working together,” Arndt said.