VIA board still silent on streetcar project

Transit provider to hold press conference Friday

SAN ANTONIO – VIA board members met privately for several hours Thursday to discuss the future of the streetcar project.

On Monday the City Council announced it would vote to withdraw its $32 million in funding for the project. Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said the county was no longer behind the plan.

While VIA officials did not speak to the media Thursday, streetcar opponents said there is only one thing board members should say.

"I hope that what they're going to do is they're going to take citizens' opinion to heart and they're going to walk away from the streetcar project completely," said Bexar County Judge candidate Carlton Soules.

Soules' opponent and current Bexar County judge Nelson Wolff reiterated his disappointment in the project's lack of support.

"I'm very disappointed about what happened," Wolff said. "I did my best. I think everybody tried. I just don't think we got enough public support."

VIA officials said earlier this week that the $92 million in state funding for the project would be put toward other capital improvement projects. Local and state officials have called for that money to be returned to TxDOT and put toward highway expansion projects.

While the project is on its last legs, the fight to get a vote on a future streetcar project continues.

The Streetcar Vote Coalition, which collected nearly 27,000 signatures on a petition calling for a charter amendment to allow voters to decide whether the city builds a streetcar, is still waiting for the city to validate the petition. But state election officials have already weighed in.

In a memo obtained by KSAT 12, the San Antonio City Clerk's Office emailed the secretary of state's office seeking a legal opinion on whether signed petitions that did not have the signature of the circulator were valid. Election officials said the circulator signatures, also known as the circulator affidavit, are not required on a petition calling for a charter amendment.

According to the memo, the Clerk's Office has validated 20,999 signatures-- enough to get the charter amendment on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Mayor Ivy Taylor was asked about the legal opinion and said, "We'll have a full report on that on Wednesday (Aug. 6)."

VIA will hold a press conference on Friday at 11 a.m. at its 1021 San Pedro location.