"San Antonio is on the brink of a new era of mobility in San Antonio. “With those words, Mayor Nirenberg today used his annual 'State of the City' address to unveil plans for a major new city wide mass transit system, and he appointed a board to head a nonprofit called 'Connect SA' which will put a proposal before the voters next year, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"If we continue with business as usual, just building more roads and highways, average commute times will increase by 75%," he said.
Nirenberg says highway congestion is reaching the point where it is threatening to damage the city's economy, with more and more prospective employers asking whether their workers will be able to get to work on time.
But Nirenberg says his system, which he expects to have up for a 2019 vote, many not include a traditional light rail system, which has been voted down by the people twice.
"Everything is still on the table," he said. "We are being driven by data and we know that what this city needs is a modern transportation system, and what that is is a system that operates on right of way separate from the roads."
He suggested a new model of mass transit being popularized in China called 'trackless rail,' where train-like articulated cars, with all the amenities of a train, travel on tires instead of rails fixed to the right of way.
To build any railed transportation on city streets would require a vote of the people, under a 2015 Charter Amendment.
"We don't want to adopt old technology," he said. "We want to be forward looking with the resources that we have. “The mayor didn't suggest how much this robust mass transit system would cost, or how it would be paid for.