Opponents of that controversial downtown streetcar plan today submitted more than 27,000 petition signatures, far more than is required, demanding a public vote on the project in November, 1200 WOAI news reports.
"That starts a 20 day calendar deadline for the City Clerk to check the signatures and submit them to City Council," said Greg Brockhouse of StreetcarVote.com, the organization which is leading the fight against the project.
He says the only thing that prevented more signatures being collected was the deadline.
"We could have gotten 100,000 signatures if we had the time," he said. "85% of the doors we knocked on wanted to sign the petition. People who weren't registered to vote said they wished they were so they could sign the petition. It's pretty overwhelming."
Brockhouse says, despite the opposition of many San Antonio city officials, including Mayor Castro and the city attorney to a vote on the streetcar issue, the bottom line is, after the petitions are certified, there must be an election.
"The City Council cannot stop it, they have no voting rights to decide whether to put it on the ballot or not," he said. "What they do have is ministerial duties, they can adjust the ballot language, but it has to go on the ballot."
Opposition to the streetcar is broad, and is led by groups as divergent as the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association, LULAC, libertarian and tea party groups, and citizens groups.
Brockhouse says there are signatures from every City Council district.
He says the key here is the public's right to vote. He points out his 27,000 signatures is close to the roughly 29,000 votes that elected Julian Castro mayor in 2013.
The City Attorney's office has said that the 1977 law that created VIA Metro Transit gives VIA the ability to run public transit throughout the city, without being challenged in the courts.
"They're just not listening, they say they can do whatever they want and it doesn't matter what the citizens say," Brockhouse said. "There is a real problem with this project out in the community. Now we will see at City Hall who is for VIA and who is for the voters.
Meanwhile, State Rep Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio) is considering introducing a bill to strip the $92 million granted by TxDOT fro what he called a 'social science project that will not do a thing to stop congestion' and give it to projects on 281, which are now set to become toll roads because TxDOT, which just granted $92 million for the streetcar, says it doesn't have enough money to build free lanes.
Ironically, Castro has blasted efforts at approving 'voter i.d.' laws on the argument that they strip the people of their right to vote. But Castro does not support giving people the right to vote on the streetcar plan.