Transportation Choices Strengthen Our Future!
by
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
March 20, 2008

At a time when gas prices are at record high levels, our transportation choices and the attendant investments become all the more critical.

How do we provide freedom of movement for all income level households and businesses as the price of fuel continues to rise?

How do we move goods and services from place to place in our community thereby improving and expanding our local and regional economy by developing a more economically sustainable or affordable transportation system?

How do we make San Antonio a healthier place for humans and other species to live?

How do we comply with new, even more stringent federal clean air standards than the ones we barely passed this year?

How do we reduce greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate global climate change?

People are trying out transit for the first time and are getting acquainted. Most riders appear satisfied, but some need more convenient routes. Be assured that VIA will only improve as it plays an increasingly larger role in our local transportation system. Last month VIA experienced a 15% increase in its ridership!

County Judge Nelson Wolff and I two years ago, challenged the largest employers and all who aspired in Bexar County to join the effort to provide employees with ID cards that allow for free year ‘round access to VIA including downtown trolleys. So far, in addition to Bexar County's 4,000 cards issued, the City has provided 6,000 to its employees. And just recently the Hyatt Riverwalk Hotel and the Grand Hyatt Hotel provided a total of about 1,000 ID cards. That's 11,000 employees that have a chance to save serious money and not be a part of the traffic jamming that robs us of our gas and time.

In addition, Councilperson Mary Alice Cisneros and I are working locally and at the federal level to provide free downtown bus rides on what will be the nation's first solar-electric buses. In addition to reducing both pollution and noise, the energy source will all be clean, renewable and local!

As we proceed, education, the guardian genius of democracy, will be critical to our progress. Local leadership and our community must work with our Congressional Delegation and our State Legislative leadership to target issues confronting us and work for solutions together.

At the Transportation Choices Forum slated for this Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the International Center (See Transportation Forum at www.bexar.org) we will cover just some of the critical issues facing our very transportation dependent community. We will not be able to cover all the issues impacting transportation and its increasingly burdensome costs. We will however, begin a serious conversation in this community about all aspects of our transportation policy. As we do, the goal of freedom and the need for demonstrating responsibility must guide our paths to a stronger future.

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