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Grant awarded to VIA for urban circulator project 

The Federal Transit Administration has awarded a grant to VIA Metropolitan Transit to begin an alternatives analysis for the agency’s proposed Downtown High-Capacity Urban Circulator System.

The alternatives analysis will look at ways to provide improved mobility and circulation between center city neighborhoods and the central business district. The project focuses on two urban corridors that align north-south (from Southtown to the Pearl Brewery area) and east-west (from the near East Side to the near West Side through downtown).

In order to advance a proposed urban circulator rail alternative through the federal Small Starts process, it is necessary for VIA to perform an alternatives analysis on each of the proposed corridors. VIA was awarded a total of $900,000 to help fund the alternatives analyses.

“A high-capacity transit system in the downtown area will offer quality access to neighborhoods, potential developments, and the central business district itself,” said VIA Board Chairman Henry R. Muñoz, III. “What results will be a livable, urban neighborhood setting that promotes sustainability with a range of travel options for people in the area.”

Keith T. Parker, the president/CEO of VIA, also weighed in on the potential impact of the rail alternative. “This is, at the same time, a mobility project and an economic development project. A streetcar system like we envision it will enhance economic development opportunities, and it will do that by providing quality access to existing and future neighborhoods and activity centers.”

Congressman Charles A. Gonzalez of the 20th District of Texas extended his congratulations to VIA following the announcement. “I congratulate VIA on this well-deserved award,” Gonzalez said. “San Antonio is the only city of its size in the country relying solely on buses for mass transit. I will continue to lend my support to VIA’s continuing efforts to provide our city with the best multimodal transportation system, a system that will lead to growth and a better life for every citizen. This money will fund an analysis to help ensure that the City and the federal government invest in the best solutions for San Antonio.”

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