Rep. Larson letter to Judge Wolff
Dear Judge Wolff:
As we have previously discussed on several occasions, my constituents remain strongly opposed to VIA Metropolitan Transit's plans to move forward with the downtown streetcar for a number of reasons and seek your assistance in preventing its construction. I respectfully request that the Commissioners Court ask VIA to hold a countywide referendum on this issue before it moves forward with contracting.
As you well know, the merits of this project and the process undertaken to build it have been in question since its inception, particularly when the Bexar County Commissioners Court voted to allocate its share of Advanced Transportation District (ATD) fund revenue to the project and later, after weeks of public backlash, developed an agreement with TxDOT to swap the funding. I request that Commissioners Court vote to rescind the swap and ensure that all ATD and Texas Mobility Fund dollars are spent for their intended purposes, which are to build projects in our highway system.
The streetcar project does nothing to increase mobility for all of our community. Rather, it commits a great deal of traditional roadway infrastructure funds to a project that will serve a very small number of folks in our community. The $92 million that TxDOT committed for this project should be used to pay for projects that will have a major impact on mobility, like funding the flyovers at Hwy 151 and Loop 410, or providing dollars for a traditional funding strategy for adding capacity to Hwy 281 from Loop 1604 to Marshall Road.
Finally, it is abundantly clear that the streetcar proposal is hugely unpopular amongst Bexar County residents. In fact, there has never been a more divisive issue in this community over the last two decades. The City of San Antonio is poised to either allow the voters to vote on this issue and/or rescind its participation in the project by withdrawing their contribution and redirecting it to street maintenance. This issue should be taken to voters to cleanse the funding process that includes money swaps and the blatant disregard of the results of the 2000 light rail election.
Thank you for your consideration.