There will be no referendum on the controversial downtown streetcar project.
"Even if we wanted to call an election, it's against the law to call an election, so we can't call an election. We're not going to do it" said VIA Metropolitan Transit Board Chairman Alex Briseno. That decision after the Bard was advised by VIA's attorneys it couldn't legally authorize a referendum on the plan--unless a new tax was being created, or a sales tax was being increased.
Briseno said it's now time to move forward with the plan--as well as addressign all of the community's transportation needs.
"This streetcar project is just part of a different need of a different part of the community... congestion in the far north and the far west, moving people around the intermediate parts of the community" Briseno said.
VIA's attorneys also said such a referendum can legally be called on rail projects in communities that are much larger or much smaller than San Antonio. For their part, opponents are quite disappointed--and frustrated.
"They are doing everything possible to grease this pig, and make it go" said George Rodriguez with the South Texas Tea Party Patriots. He told 550 KTSA News the edict from VIA is nothing more than the latest move in a shell game.
"I find it interesting that they are now conveniently lookign to state law to cover what they want to do. They didn't do that with the ATD Funds" Rodriguez said.
VIA recently won a court fight over using Advanced Transportation District Funding as part of the project--despite what critics said was a ten year old promise not to use that money on rail. Rodriguez said VIA's Board is acting like arrogant bureaucrats--and he's disappointed San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff are not taking steps to hold their appointees accountable.