North side Councilwoman Elisa Chan says she will fight to scuttle that very controversial, and very expensive, downtown streetcar scheme, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Chan told the Bexar County Republican Men's Club that at a time when San Antonio is facing a $50 million shortfall and needed programs will have to be cut, it makes no sense to pour money into an overpriced streetcar system which nobody wants.
"Another concern I have is with the operation of the streetcar," Chan said. "My impression is that in Austin, nobody is really riding the streetcar."
The project, being pushed hard by Via Metro Transit, would spend $190 million or more to build a three to five mile streetcar line connecting the Pearl Brewery areas north of downtown with Hemisfair Park and the Thompson Transit Station near the Alamodome.
So how unpopular is the streetcar plan? When city officials were pushing the $595 million bond package in May of 2012, they went out of their way to specifically write on all literature supporting the bond package that 'none of this money will be used to support the Via streetcar plan,' knowing full well that if taxpayers thought any of the money would go to the streetcar plan, the entire bond package would be rejected.
Several reports have labeled downtown streetcars like the one proposed for San Antonio as expensive boondoggles, which do nothing to promote economic growth. In fact, downtown businesses which would actually be near the streetcar route are refusing to help pay for it.
"Especially when the businesses along the corridor are not willing to pitch in," Chan said. "I think that is wrong."
Chan says the priority of the city today should be to deal with its projected budget deficit, and leave talk of a streetcar to a time when the city has tax money to burn.