Veteran Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson, who has been one of the county's most vocal advocates for expanded mass transit options, is urging the County's three appointees to the VIA Metro Transit Authority board to schedule a public vote on the very controversial downtown streetcar plan, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.
Adkisson, who is leaving Commissioner's Court after losing a Democratic Party primary challenge to County Judge Nelson Wolff, has been on Commissioner's Court for 16 years, and from the start he has been a major force pushing for mass transit options, including rail options.
"I have proudly served for 16 years on the Lone Star Rail District board, demonstrating my belief in this long overdue and vital project critical to the continued functioning of our nation's most significant international corridor, IH-35," Adkisson writes.
Adkisson also points out his long time support for VIA, including pushing for bus passes for county employees and electric busses for VIA's fleet.
Adkisson even points out his long time support for the streetcar system in downtown San Antonio.
"I was quickly made aware after announcing my support for it, that many of our citizens vehemently disagree," he wrote.
Adkisson compares the streetcar battle to the battle to build the AT&T Center.
"We took the AT&T Center out for a vote and won handily, and the streetcar should be subject to no less scrutiny."
Adkission calls on the County's three VIA board members, who are supposed to represent the will of the Commission, to find a 'suitable time on next year's election calendar' to allow a vote for the streetcar.
Adkission's letter shows a continued expansion of the 'rainbow coalition' of groups opposing building the controversial project without a vote of the people, and further isolates VIA and it's chairman, Alex Briseno, who continue to refuse to allow the people to vote on this project.
In the past week, streetcar opponents have submitted far more than enough petition signatures to put the issue on the ballot, and State Rep. Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio) and State Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) have both announced their intentions to seek to strip the project of state funding which is critical to it's viability.
Outgoing Mayor Julian Castro devoted his final public speech as mayor to pushing for the streetcar. Ironically, throughout his terms as mayor, Castro has repeatedly opposed so called 'Voter ID laws when they have been passed by lawmakers. Castro's reason for opposing Voter ID? He says it strips citizens of their right to vote.