SAN ANTONIO - City council plans to move forward on the controversial streetcar project when it meets on Thursday, despite the fact the project has lost the private money that was supposed to help pay for it. That means taxpayers will pick up the entire $178 Million tab.
The plan was to have Downtown businesses, which the streetcar project is mainly meant to support, contribute $15 Million towards the project. But those businesses have since pulled out.
Supporters of the project say it's not contingent on their money.
“Previously they had put in fifteen million that they would raise through the private sector. Well, it wasn't necessary to put the fifteen million, and VIA got a grant for ten million from the state, so that still leaves five million that we need to look forward to raising in the community,” said Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff.
City council plans to move forward because they want to start the design stage this summer. That would last through next year with construction to begin in 2015 and completion in 2017.
This is not sitting well with opponents.
“This is further proof that they are hell-bent on building this streetcar that no one wants. If the streetcar is so great for economic development, then why don't the businesses along the streetcar route support it?” asked street car opponent Jeff Judson.
City council plans to vote on this matter on Thursday. If you'd like to voice your opinion, they'll listen to citizens during the "B" session on Wednesday. That starts at 5pm at Municipal Plaza.