San Antonio City Council today voted to formally withdraw the city's $32 million from that now halted downtown streetcar plan, and agreed to work with streetcar opponents to place language on the city's charter amendment ballot in May that would require a public vote on any future rail plans.
The ordinance stripping the money from the streetcar project also requires a vote on any future rail projects.
Mayor Ivy Taylor said that would keep the faith with citizens who have expressed opposition to the streetcar, and demanded the right to vote on major city initiatives.
"I feel that we should stay the course, while still addressing the people's desire to vote on the streetcar issue," Taylor said.
But Council rejected a proposal from northeast side councilman Mike Gallagher to call a vote on the streetcar charter amendment in November, even though the number of petition signatures demanding a November vote was inadequate.
"As far as I'm concerned, I believe we have had the proper guidance on it," Gallagher said. "Over 20,000 signatures are viable, and we cannot ignore that fact."
The City Attorney's office ruled Wednesday that the signatures are invalid because many of them did not include a piece of paper called a 'circulator's affidavit,' which would certify the legality of the signatures
Taylor said one of the major goals of her brief administration will be to establish a charter review commission, and propose several charter amendments to citizens. She says they may include a measure to pay City Council members a professional salary, to charge the way the mayor is elected at times of a vacancy, and to require a public vote whenever a major project like the streetcars is proposed.
VIA Metro Transit has voted to put the streetcar plan 'on hold' in light of the city's action.