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Comment: S.A. transit needs a new vision
There has been much discussion throughout the community about growth, the need for enhancing our transportation system, toll roads and the role of the Alamo
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evaluations and debate — not only on tolled lanes, but on
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various other transportation options and improvements.
Here is the place to be heard on the issues raised in the San
today's transportation problems. We need to face the reality that we have seen a dramatic increase in population and a resulting surge in congested roads and
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I wish there were a quick fix. I wish we could expand funding sources for highway construction and maintenance. I wish we could build projects quicker. I wish we
didn't have to spend increasing and countless hours each week looking at the car stopped in front of us on our highways and interstates.
During the next 25 years, an estimated 1 million new residents will be moving into this region. Businesses are moving to San Antonio, bringing with them higher-paying jobs and more opportunities for our city to grow.
More and more residents are looking for new ways to travel throughout the city to ensure quality of life as we work and enjoy all that is San Antonio. Unless
something is done soon, we won't be in the position to enjoy the unprecedented
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Accelerating transportation projects makes good economic sense. It is important
to realize that we can buy more today than we can buy tomorrow in terms of highway project costs.
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There is no silver bullet to solving congestion and no single funding method to
address our growing transportation needs. We need new ways to finance, build
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I think we all agree that we need a balanced approach to meet these challenges.
We need integrated road, rail and bus systems to keep a major metropolitan area
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By having a balanced approach to meet our needs and by considering a variety of funding solutions — from gas tax to tolling — we can keep our community moving
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At the Alamo RMA, we are laying the groundwork to help address this coming growth, which also addresses the congestion we see today.
We need to be visionary. While we debate change, we ask for your help in embracing new ideas and concepts. We ask for you to be open to finding innovative approaches to transportation and congestion relief.
In the coming months, we will provide opportunities to hear your input through public meetings and open houses, and we look forward to a continued dialogue.
Together, we can create roadways that are built years and decades sooner, which will cover their own maintenance, and allow limited state and local funds to be spent on other projects to keep our community moving.
The Alamo RMA, contrary to some assertions, is not simply a "tolling authority." Toll revenue, while controversial — and a stark challenge to the status quo — is an important element into the funding discussions. Yes, we are looking at toll financing as an option to help build roadways. No, that is not all we are about.
We are committed to finding ways to bring relief to our community, to helping finish needed projects and to listening and respecting the voices of our community.
At the end of the day, our mission is a simple one — to move people faster, to find new solutions we haven't tried yet, to make use of every tool and resource and to ensure that we solve the problems of today now instead of leaving a burden for future generations.
Bill Thornton is chairman of the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority, www.alamorma.org.
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