Taxpayer Groups: VIA Wrong, Streetcar Election Will Take Place
by Jim Forsyth
After VIA Metro Transit Chairman Alex Briseno said that state law 'prohibits' the transit company from allowing the public to vote on the controversial downtown streetcar plan, the San Antonio Tea Party urged lawmakers to change the laws, 1200 WOAI news reports.
"Unfortunately, arrogant politicians and their crony business partners want to keep the public from interfering in their money making schemes," said Tea Party spokesman George Rodriguez. "All state laws that prevent citizen-taxpayers from having a voice in the spending of public money, and the sale or public resourses, are wrong and they must be repealed."
Rodriguez cited a vote in the Legislature last year to deny the public the right to make any input on the selling of public land in Hemisfair Park to private developers as part of the park's renovation.
Meanwhile, taxpayer advocacy groups say Briseno is wrong, and the taxpayers will in fact have three opportunities to vote on the streetcar.
They point out a non binding question will be on the Republican runoff ballot in May asking if voters approve of the streetcar. Voters are also being asked to place a charter amendment on the San Antonio city ballot in November, requiring a public vote before any taxpayer-maintain streets can be used for 'railed transport.' And third, Councilman Joe Krier will call for a public vote before San Antonio City Council takes another step toward allocating city resources for the streetcar.