The VIA Metropolitan Transit’s $280 million streetcar initiative suffered a major setback earlier this week when San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff issued a joint statement withdrawing their public support for the project. Among other things, the two officials cited a lack “sufficient support” and “community consensus.”
The officials’ decision to withdraw support for the costly project was no doubt prompted by its increasing unpopularity among San Antonio residents. Remember that it was just less than one month ago that Let the People Vote, a broad coalition of public and private partners, successfully led a petition drive to collect and submit more than 27,000 signatures asking for a public vote (see more here).
It’s clear that political will and public support for the streetcar project are waning, but it remains unclear whether the victory here is short- or long-term. Urban transportation planners are, right now, looking at ways to repackage the streetcar proposal to possibly take to voters at a later time, according to the KENS 5 News. So there’s a chance that it could be back in relatively short order.
Still, the people of San Antonio have certainly made it known that they want their voices heard on major, expensive public projects like the streetcar. It’s a big victory…for now.