Transportation | Texas Public Radio

Transportation

In a rare, bipartisan move, Democratic lawmakers and conservative business leaders from across the state are coming together in support of a state transportation funding measure up for voting this November. 

VIA Metropolitan Transit

Voters will get the chance to vote on whether they would like to vote on any future streetcar project in San Antonio.

Thursday, the San Antonio City Council approved a charter amendment election for May 2015, following a recommendation by the council's governance committee to iron out the kinks of the election language.

When voters arrive to the ballot box next May, they will see Proposition 1, which will ask: 

Charlie Rose Show

Fronteras: San Antonio is trying to figure how to regulate ride sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft. This week, we look at how Uber is faring in San Diego. Rosie Castro was a trailblazer for Latino politicians, which includes her twin sons, Julián and Joaquín. Rosie will be featured on HBO Latino this fall. She joins us on Fronteras to talk about her early activism days, her sons’ political careers and more.

Ryan Loyd / TPR News

San Antonio’s texting-while-driving ban is four years old and some city officials, like District 10 Councilman Mike Gallagher, don’t think it is working well enough.

Last week Gallagher proposed revising the current cell phone ordinance, which prohibits use of a mobile phone except for dialing or talking, to make it even stricter.

Gallagher’s proposal is to prohibit use of mobile phones entirely, except for in a hands-free capacity. A news release outlined the councilman's concerns that more than 90,000 crashes across the state in 2012 were linked to distracted driving. 

Chris Eudaily / TPR News

For the upcoming 2015 legislative session, the Texas Department of Transportation will be asking state lawmakers for $50 million over a two-year period to fund research into futuristic methods of transportation; that includes a study on the use of delivery drones and "hyperloops."

TxDOT Deputy Executive Director John Barton said Texas can no longer keep building the same type transportation systems the agency has built over the last 100 years.

Ryan Loyd / TPR News

Lyft drivers across the city are picking up riders and dropping them off. The mobile app is one indication of the company still operating illegally in San Antonio, where a cease-and-desist order remains in place.

This week, the city council's public safety committee upheld the city's stance on the company and decided to form a task force that will make recommendations on how to implement Transportation Network Companies (TNC) so they will fit into the current Chapter 33 vehicle-for-hire ordinance.

Eileen Pace / TPR News

VIA is disappointed in the change of heart by the city and county on streetcar, but the transit authority plans to move forward in other directions while deferring its current plan for the project.

Friday, standing among dozens of VIA employees at a news conference, VIA Chairman Alex Briseño said the transit authority is moving forward; just not with the streetcar project that had been in the works.

The plan forward now, he said, includes expanded PRIMO routes, constructing multi-modal centers, and focus on VIA's long-range plan for 2035 that was approved three years ago.

Ryan Loyd / Texas Public Radio

Iowa is now the 20th state to issue a warning to its residents about ride-sharing companies like Lyft and Uber, cautioning of hidden risks such as devastating financial losses due to non-covered claims.

While Texas has not done so, cities like San Antonio are still trying to move forward with integration of the transportation companies. So far it has been slow going.

VIA Metropolitan Transit

Despite the derailment of San Antonio’s streetcar, the petition that called for a vote on the issue may still put a charter change on the November ballot.

TPR obtained the results of the petition drive, which is seeking a charter amendment change so that voters could have a say on the streetcar project. The city's election code says 20,000 signatures are needed.

The clerk's office found that more than 12,000 are valid and another 8,800 are also valid if the circulator affidavit isn't required. The circulator affidavit is to verify that those signing are real people.

Joey Palacios / TPR News

VIA's multi-million dollar modern streetcar plan will have to take a new track as the city and county have indicated both will withdraw their support from the project. The city of San Antonio stated its intent to remove it’s $32 million pledge, leaving many to cheer or chastise its decision.

The decision to remove funding by the city and county took both supporters and opponents of VIA’s multimillion dollar modern street car plan by surprise. But that doesn’t mean the plan is completely dead.

Pages