SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – Mayor Ron Nirenberg wants to switch the 1/8-cent sales tax for Edwards Aquifer Protection to Via Metropolitan Transit.
He told the San Antonio Express-News Editorial Board the money is needed to improve VIA’s operations and have buses run more frequently.
Nirenberg, who’s been one of the biggest advocates for protection of the aquifer since he’s been in office, says he’ll have to work on other financial resources to purchase conservation easements above the aquifer, but improving public transportation also is vital as the population continues to grow.
“By no means are we turning our back on the importance of aquifer protection and water quality in our city,” said Nirenberg.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said public transportation is important to the environment, too. He says getting more cars off the roads will improve the air quality. He maintains that they’ve considered all the financial options and the sales tax is the only way to go.
“If we can’t use that, we may as well go home and forget about public transportation because there’s no other way to do it that we know of today,” said Wolff.
Voters would have to approve the 1/8-cent sales tax switch from aquifer protection to VIA, and Nirenberg is hoping to get the issue on the ballot in November of 2020.
Nirenberg and Wolff established ConnectSA last year. It’s a comprehensive multimodal transportation plan that will require more than a billion dollars for projects through 2025.