Rep. Larson: VIA should scrap streetcar plan

San Antonio rep issues statement addressing proposed downtown streetcars

By Van Darden - Managing Editor

SAN ANTONIO - Texas Rep. Lyle Larson (R-Dist. 122) on Monday released a statement asking VIA officials to reconsider the proposed -- and controversial -- downtown San Antonio streetcar plan.

"It seems apparent that, after reviewing the plan and considering this funding shortfall, the prudent course of action is to pause and reassess whether this project should move forward, or if it should be shelved so that VIA can shift its focus back to using existing resources to address any projected passenger mobility issues in targeted areas," Larson said in the statement.

On Sept. 10, the VIA board of trustees was presented with a recommended route for the proposed streetcar plan.

The recommendation calls for the streetcars to use Broadway, connecting to the east/west corridors of Martin and Pecan streets. Frio Street would represent the western extent, with the streetcars travelling through the El Mercado area. Cesar Chavez would provide the southern boundary and an east/west route, while St. Mary's and Navarro streets would serve as another north/south corridor.

An extra addition of South St. Mary's between Cesar Chavez and Alamo would likely also be included for a total of 5.9 miles and an $8.5 million operating cost.

"It's clear that the public remains unconvinced that it is necessary to improve mobility and there is no certainty that it will be funded in an appropriate and transparent way," Larson said in the statement.

He went on to address the board directly: "Trustees, it is not too late to do the right thing: scrap this idea and move forward in a responsible way!"

The board will discuss the proposed route in a workshop Monday evening. A public open house will be held on Sept. 19. The VIA board of trustees is expected to adopt a route Sept. 24.

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