San Antonio’s hopes to build a streetcar line that could lead to more rail projects suffered a setback after two leaders of an advisory commission resigned recently.
Marty Wender and Mike Novak, co-chairmen of the Via Metropolitan Transit’s streetcar commission, quit in August, saying that they had not been consulted about changes in the direction of the proposed line and a decision by Bexar County commissioners to approve $55 million for the project. Via is also seeking $55 million from the city of San Antonio.
Via, which operates the bus system in the San Antonio area, has $70 million in bonding authority under new state law and hopes to apply for federal funding for the streetcar project in October. With the bonds and commitments from the city and county, local funding would come to $180 million.
Mustering political support for any rail project has been a struggle since voters rejected a light-rail system in 2000. Despite the rejection, County Judge Nelson Wolff and other top officials continue to support rail projects.
The second most populous city in Texas, San Antonio is the largest in the state without any commuter or light-rail lines.
Houston’s Metro Transit Authority this week is planning to issue $511 million of bonds to finance its second and third light-rail lines.
The Dallas Area Rapid Transit Authority has the most advanced system of light-rail and commuter lines in the state and is in the process of extending its system.