Now that the streetcar project has been all but flushed down the tubes, northwest side State Rep. Lyle Larson is wasting no time urging the Texas Department of Transportation to allocate the state's $92 million contribution to non tolled expansion of US 281 between Loop 1604 and Marshall Road, Newsradio 1200 WOAI.
In a letter to all of the Texas Transportation Commissioners, Larson and State Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), say the $92 million would 'go a long ay to improving' conditions in the heavily traveled corridor.
"According to a recent study by TRIP, San Antonio's major roads are in significantly worse condition than the other metro areas in Texas," Larson and Campbell write.
Larson points out that the $92 million was originally funds that came from the 2004 Advanced Transportation District sales tax increase that voters were told would pay for improved highways. When VIA Metro Transit and Bexar County wanted to use the funds for the streetcar, they 'swapped' the money with TxDOT so they could say they were following a promise that none of the ATD money would be used for 'rail.'
Larson and Campbell encourage the Commission to vote 'at your next regularly scheduled meeting' to allocate the $92 million to US 281.
At a time when tens of millions in state, county, and city money was being poured into the streetcar project which would have carried a handful of people across downtown, TxDOT and the local Regional Mobility Authority, claiming it had 'no money' to spend on the US 281 improvements, which affect tens of thousands of motorists daily, and claimed toll roads were the only option to improve congestion on the north side.