San Antonio’s 5-year, $1.2 billion bond program goes to the voters

Council passes final list of 183 projects to appear on May 7 ballot for voter approval

SAN ANTONIO – Money for expanding the city’s greenway trails, affordable housing, repairing failed streets, and building fire and police stations all made the final list of bond projects passed by San Antonio City Council on Thursday morning.

The five-year, $1.2 billion bond program will still need voter approval at the May 7 election. The 183 different projects are split between six propositions, which voters will take up separately:

  1. Streets, bridges, and sidewalks - $471.6M
  2. Parks and recreation - $271.9M
  3. Drainage and flood control - $169.9M
  4. Affordable housing - $150M
  5. Public Safety Facilities - $78.3M
  6. Library and Cultural Facilities - $58.4M

The bond does not include a tax increase.

With council having approved the final project list, voters will either vote yes or no on the six different aspects of the bond.

“The big takeaway for me on this bond is that we are advancing the very basics of our community -- you know, streets, sidewalks, drainage priorities, better than we have in any previous bond cycle,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg after the vote.

Some of the highlights in the bond include:

  • $103.5M for expanding the greenway trail system by another 21 miles
  • $15.7M for public art -- 1.5 percent of the whole bond (except housing)
  • $44M for two replacement fire stations (D1 and D5) and one new police substation (D3)
  • $100.5M to reconstruct failed streets around the city
  • Improvements to 30% of city’s parks, including 9 new park properties
  • $150M for affordable housing

This is the city’s first bond to include affordable housing after voters approved a charter change in May 2021 to allow for it. The housing portion of the bond does not include individual projects, but rather, broad categories for using the funding, with a focus on helping lower-income households.

The committee also provided a set of parameters for determining if subsequent projects fit the intent of the housing bond.

“Housing is health, stability, safety and overall, a human right,” said District 5 Councilwoman Teri Castillo.

The $150M housing portion of the bond does not include individual projects, but rather broad categories for which the money can be used.

A set of five committees, comprised of council appointees, considered which projects to include and presented their recommendations to council in January. Although the final project list was similar to what the committees had recommended, council approved about $20.6 million in changes.

City staff said they had worked with District 5 Councilwoman Teri Castillo on swapping funding for a drainage project on Cumberland Road for one on Frio City Road, both of which are in her district. A $2.5 million chunk was also transferred out of a street project in her district in order to fully fund a replacement fire station.

Meanwhile, staff said they worked with District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry on $3 million worth of linear greenway trails funding in his district for more to spend on drainage and streets projects. He was absent from Thursday’s vote due to a family matter.

The controversial cuts to public art, recommended by some bond committees, were restored by freeing up $3.8 million in citywide bridge funding by using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars to pay for that work instead.

That brought the funding for public arts back up to 1.5 percent across the infrastructure propositions, which council had originally set as the goal.

About the Authors

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.

Recommended Videos