County Judge Nelson Wolff, who is one of the leading supporters of that controversial downtown streetcar plan, says he would support a public vote on the project, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Wolff's comments came in an on line debate with his Democratic primary opponent, County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson, sponsored by the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and the local Sinclair Broadcasting TV stations.
"I don't have any problem if they want a vote," Wolff said. "That would be up to VIA, maybe the City of San Antonio if they want to call a vote. That's not an issue with me."
San Antonio Council Member Joe Krier has already called on the council to allow the public to have the final word on whether the streetcar, which will cost anywhere from $280 million to $450 million, depending on who's figures you believe, should be decided by the people.
Adkisson pushed the idea of a public vote on the streetcar, saying people tell him at every campaign stop how big a boondoggle the streetcar plan is.
"I think the citizens of Bexar County should have the right to vote on this thing," Adkisson said. "The citizens of Bexar County are clearly saying, slow this thing down, you're going too fast."
George Rodriguez, an opponent of the streetcar plan, points out that there have already been two votes on the proposal, and both times citizens have said they don't want their money used to build any rail projects.
"We have already had too votes on it," Rodriguez said. "But if Councilman Krier wants to call a vote, we would support that. Let's step to the plate, and see what can be done."
But Wolff maintained in the debate that the streetcar is a sound idea.
"It reduces bus transportation in the inner city by some 60%, taking it off the roads and to the streetcar," he said. Wolff said the streetcar is also more environmentally responsible than busses, and he says the long term plan for regional transportation is to have the downtown streetcar stations tie into a light rail passenger system running to Austin and possibly beyond.