Local officials in the city of San Antonio are facing an uphill battle in their effort to see a controversial and costly streetcar project come to life.
Just a week after a state lawmaker from the area expressed strong opposition to the $280 million streetcar system, calling it “universally disliked,” a broad coalition of community leaders has now gathered and submitted more than 26,000 signatures to the city clerk’s office in an effort to let San Antonians have a say in the November general election on whether or not to move forward with the project.
If the city clerk verifies that the signatures are valid, then the coalition, Let the People Vote, will have successfully completed its streetcar petition drive asking for a public vote on a charter amendment that would “require all streetcar and light-rail projects built in city-owned rights-of-way to be voted on before they can be built.“
The exact language of the charter amendment is as follows:
No streetcar or other light rail franchise, easement or other transaction involving or in association with granting the right to use any street, highway, alley, park, public place or any other real property of the city, either along, across, over or under the same, shall ever be valid unless expressly approved by a majority vote of the qualified electors of the city in an election distinctly specifying such purpose separate from any other subject or purpose.
Whether the charter amendment above is approved by the public is to be seen, but what’s for certain is that the San Antonio experience vindicates all Texans’ ability to hold their local government officials accountable through the citizen-initiated petition.