Research and discussion for citizens and decision makers

Pat DiGiovanni

We Don’t Vote on New Roads.

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Beginning with early voting and continuing through the May 9 election date, San Antonio’s registered voters will cast votes that will have an impact on our city. Not only will voters decide on which candidates will lead San Antonio, they will decide whether to amend our City Charter; San Antonio’s equivalent to the United States Constitution, and in the process either handcuff or free newly elected officials to set and implement critical transportation policies needed to move our city forward.

I am referring specifically to Charter Amendment No. 1 (not to be confused with Proposition 1 for the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program), which calls for a public vote on the future of transportation in our city. The Centro Alliance board voted unanimously to oppose this amendment. Using the City’s Charter to address transportation policy is bad public policy. Using the City Charter to isolate one transportation project to the exclusion of others that are on drawing boards today or could be in the future is more bad policy. We all learned at any early age, “two wrongs don’t make a right.”

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The individuals that led the opposition to streetcars have taken control of this issue while conveniently ignoring the high costs and disruptive nature of road projects that will never meet traffic demand unless there is an alternative to curb that demand.

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There is no resounding call to bring road projects to a public vote, or to amend the City Charter to require it. It’s a mentality that we can build roads wider and wider to deal with growth and congestion. But nearly 80% of respondents to the survey indicated a desire to vote on all transportation projects. So do they get to vote on roads? This charter amendment and others like it will lead to the Californication, of policy by ballot, of San Antonio.

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In order to have a vibrant core, we have to make it convenient for residents, workers, and visitors to move into, around, and through the center city. Transit policy needs to come from thoughtful analysis and planning, which the City is undertaking through the SA Tomorrow process. It shouldn’t come as a knee-jerk, emotional reaction to streetcar. We urge residents to vote “no” on Charter Amendment No. 1.

Full Story: Charter Amendment Derails San Antonio’s Transportation Future
Source: The Rivard Report, April 29, 2015

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