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Public weighs in on Vista Ridge project at briefing

Opponents say public should be more involved

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SAN ANTONIO – Residents and concerned citizens on Tuesday voiced their frustrations over the Vista Ridge pipeline project a San Antonio Water System board briefing.

The meeting was held to talk about the recent announcement of the new majority stakeholder in the projects, Garney Construction.

Questions have been raised after the previous stakeholder, Abengoa, filed for bankruptcy. The company once held an 80 percent equity stake in the project, which will be turned over to Garney upon approval.

Opponents of the project say SAWS should have put the project up for a vote long before it started falling apart.

"The magnitude of this project really demanded that the public be involved in that decision-making process," said Alan Montemayor, a citizen who attended the meeting.

"It's totally a terrible mess, and, actually, SAWS knew full well they were dealing with unreliable partners in the first place. The whole thing was rushed through," said Meredith McGuire, with the Alamo Group of the Sierra Club.

Under the project, water will be brought to Bexar County from Burleson County via 142 miles of pipeline.

SAWS has said the project is "one of the most transparent projects in recent history."

SAWS will brief the City Council on the project Thursday. A SAWS community meeting will be held next Tuesday with a board meeting to follow later this month or next.

All meetings will be streamed live online at SanAntonio.gov and SAWS.org.