SAN ANTONIO - VIA Metropolitan Transit now has the green light to go full speed ahead with the Downtown streetcar project.
The city council voted 8-3 to eliminate the $15 Million in private funding that was slowing the project down. Businesses will not have to contribute any money.
Three council members, including Carlton Soules, wanted private investment.
"If they want to invest, lets formalize the way they can invest before we move forward on this vote. Obviously that didn't pass," Councilman Soules told News 4 WOAI.
Councilman Diego Bernal wanted to eliminate private funding since the streetcar route was expanded near homes and small businesses.
“Those property owners include small businesses and residents and people who live in homes. I'm not prepared to tax them,” Bernal said.
VIA can now start the design phase of the project.
The city's $40 Million contribution to the project will stay the same. Bexar County put up $92 Million and VIA says it has come up with the rest of the funding which includes state and federal funding. The entire project is estimated to cost at least $190 Million.
A handful of people spoke out before the council Wednesday night. Opponents blasted VIA, saying the transit agency's vision of a streetcar system isn't realistic. But VIA officials say that's just not true.
The streetcar is expected to launch in 2017.