San Antonio Streetcar Foes to File Appeal to Lawsuit

Published February 20, 2014

Streetcar opponents are keeping alive their legal actions to stop construction of the streetcar and vow to go all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

George Alejos, a local activist with LULAC (the largest and oldest Hispanic organization in the U.S.), this week filed an appeal of Travis County district court’s ruling last month approving the issuance of bonds by VIA Metropolitan Transit. Some $15 million of the $33 million bond package is to finance the building of multi-modal transit centers to service rail streetcars as one of the “modes” on the east and west sides of San Antonio.

The appeal aims to stop the multi-modal centers being built using Advanced Transportation District (ATD) tax dollars in violation of VIA’s binding promise to voters in 2004 not to spend ATD tax dollars on light rail. The image below from the VIA website shows the direct relationship of the streetcar to the multi-modal center for which the bonds were to pay.

Street Cars

The Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank based in Chicago, earlier published a study on the streetcar project” and Heartland Director and Senior Fellow Jeff Judson has been involved in the battle over light rail for 14 years.

“We are using every tool at our disposal to stop the streetcar from breaking ground in San Antonio,” Judson said. “We are working to stop these bonds and to stop VIA from ever digging up our streets to build streetcars.”

George Alejos, the plaintiff in the appeal, said: “Our city streets and our bus system are at risk if this streetcar ever gets built. The community is unified in stopping the streetcar – rich and poor, car drivers and bus riders, young and old, Democrats and Republicans. The only people the streetcar will help are the people who will build it, at the expense of our community.”

Several local candidates for public office in Bexar County and the San Antonio City Council have recently added their names to the list of prominent streetcar foes. Every barometer of local public opinion shows overwhelming disapproval of the streetcars.

To contact Jeff Judson for an interview, please call 210/748-7100 or email [email protected].

The Heartland Institute is a 30-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.