Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Trading Funds Between Streetcars and Loop 1604

Trading funds between streetcars and 1604 could help both projects get on track quicker, My San Antonio.comreports.  The San Antonio Bexar County Metropolitan Planning Organization Board met on the proposed change Monday, and will make a final vote at the end of January.
 
The proposal involves three main changes:  swapping the money allocated for the streetcar project and a Loop 1604 plan to add express lanes between Bandera and Potranco roads, changing what the parts of the Loop 1604 plan are, and swapping the funding between Loop 1604 and US 281, which is also scheduled for more lanes.  
 
The change would eliminate federal money from the Loop 1604 project, thereby getting rid of the need for federal environmental studies that can take years, but would still have to be approved by the Federal Highway Administration.  The U.S. 281 project would still see some federal funding, but a federal environmental study has already began on that area.
 
While money is often moved around in this fashion, it is unusual to have money sources switched up between transit and road projects.  Under the new plan, $92 million allocated for the streetcar lines from Bexar County's advanced transportation district revenue (ATD) would go to the Loop 1604 project.  That money would then be replaced by $92 million in state funds that had been allocated to Loop 1604.  
 
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