San Antonio withdraws support for light rail project

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The City of San Antonio is withdrawing $32 million it had planned to invest in a new light rail project for the city, citing a lack of public support for the project.

City officials have asked public transport operator VIA to come up with new proposals for a “comprehensive multi-modal transportation” strategy and defer plans for a tram system in downtown San Antonio, which had been expected to open in 2017.

In a statement, Mayor Ivy Taylor said: “We hear and understand the concerns of our community and agree to discontinue our involvement in the streetcar project. We wish to give San Antonio residents the opportunity to provide input on a new proposal which could culminate with a community-wide vote.

“The public’s support and participation in deciding on public transit services is important to the city. It is also consistent with the city’s current effort to update the San Antonio Comprehensive Master Plan and Transportation Plan.”

VIA board chairman Alexander Briseño said: “We are thankful to those who shared the vision of creating a new transit option that would have invigorated our central business district and connected the region.

“Although we are disappointed that the value of the modern streetcar was not understood or realised by many, we remain optimistic.

“We are focused and committed to continue the path of this well thought out 2035 Comprehensive Transportation Plan and achieving our mission.”

The $32 million earmarked for the light rail project will now be invested into San Antonio’s bus rapid transit network.

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