Everything But 'Trains and Tolls' Included in Massive Transportation Plan

How does a higher annual vehicle registration fee and a 'transportation user fee' tacked onto your CPS Energy bill sound?  1200 WOAI news reports those are among the funding sources being considered for a massive $1 billion county wide transportation improvement system which is expected to be voted on in 2019, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

In a first draft of the report, a committee appointed by Mayor Nirenberg and County Judge Wolff, headed by former Mayor Henry Cisneros, former Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade, and attorney Jane Macon, says the 100 new residents and their vehicles who arrive in San Antonio each day will lead to hopeless gridlock and congestion by 2025 unless the county takes steps today to begin to plan a multi modal transportation system which Wolff says will include 'everything except trains and tolls.'

"The cost of doing nothing is going to be a tremendous amount of money, and this will take us to a whole new level," he said. 

 The focus of the plan includes better utilizing existing highways, through technology like traffic light synchronization which eliminates stop and start driving, as well as expanding the range of 'travel choices.'

The plan includes 'bus rapid transit,' which is like a train with tires instead of expensive tracks.  The BRT lines would have dedicated lanes and special traffic signals to speed its travel.

Scooters and other transportation forms, including Uber and Lyft, would be used to take mass transit passengers the 'last mile' between the bus stop and their destination.

More frequent bus service, including 'on demand' service similar as that which is currently offered by Uber and Lyft.  

Bus fares would also be collected off line through smart phones and other devices, to end the person fumbling with change at the front of the bus which delays the trip.

Policies which encourage the use of carpools, vanpools, and ride sharing, as well as better land use planning which will make it easier for people to live near their workplace to reduce the length of commutes.

There are also plans to expand sidewalks, expand existing highways, to use technology like TransGuide to better manage congestion, and to open the way to autonomous vehicles, which are predicted to be on the roads by 2025.

The plan also includes expansion of existing roads, both freeways and surface streets, to enable them to handle more vehicular and truck traffic, but the planners agree that the city's transportation needs cannot be met simply by proposing 'building out of the problem,' and new methods of transportation have to be perfected which will make it desirable for people who are now reliant on driving to work alone can see the advantage of utilizing mass transit.

"We need to start working toward that, and start studying all of the different modalities of transportation that are coming forward," Wolff said.

Public participation and input will be sought in the coming months, with a plan toward placing this on the ballot as a major transportation initiative in November.

"Now is the time to address traffic congestion and preserve our ability to move people and goods safely and efficiently," Cisneros said.  "We have invested in economic development, added infrastructure, and improved educational opportunities.  "The result is a thriving city that leads the nation in total population growth.  But we must do more to keep our city and region moving forward."

PHOTO: The several factors which are a part of the huge transportation plan.

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