Via Metro Transit says its recommended downtown streetcar route will cost $280 million to build, $8.5 million in annual operation and maintenance costs, and will attract 1.4 million riders per year, or more than 3800 riders per day, 1200 WOAI news reports.


  What is called 'Alternative 6' was proposed today by Via staffers as the best route for the streetcar project, which will be funded entirely by tax dollars.  It calls for streetcar lines running east west down Martin Street on the north end of downtown, Cesar Chavez on the south edge, and up Broadway Street to the Pearl Brewery project.


  Via staffers say Alternative 6 would provide 'the highest overall ridership per route mile' and would provide the best opportunities for connectivity to the current bus system.


  Via says it would allow people to get to the expanded Convention Center in just a three minute walk from the station, and would allow access to the newly expanded Hemisfair Park.


  Supporters also foresee the development of a 'destination shopping zone' around Milam Park and and a 'convenience shopping corridor' near City Hall.


  The design also supports a proposal to turn the unused track fields at Fox Tech High School into the new University of the Incarnate Word medical school, and a proposed downtown HEB supermarket proposed for Flores and Cesar Chavez.


  The proposal will be voted on by the Via board later this month.  Via still has to come up with roughly $60 million more to complete the plan.  Right now, construction would begin in 2015 with completion set for 2017.