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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Poll: Bexar County Voters Put Funding for Aquifer and Pre-K 4 SA Ahead of More Money for VIA

Posted By on Tue, Feb 11, 2020 at 2:47 PM

click to enlarge VIA officials say additional tax revenue would allow the transit system to increase the frequency of bus routes and expand its on-demand pickup program. - COURTESY OF VIA
  • Courtesy of VIA
  • VIA officials say additional tax revenue would allow the transit system to increase the frequency of bus routes and expand its on-demand pickup program.
New poll data bears potentially sobering news for backers of the $2.7 billion ConnectSA transportation plan.

Most Bexar County voters support using local sales tax to fund aquifer protection, the Pre-K 4 SA program and expand service from VIA Metropolitan Transit, according to a new Bexar Facts poll.



But just 7% favor prioritizing VIA funding over the other two. In contrast, 42% said aquifer protection should rank first and 30% said Pre-K 4 SA should be on top.

That suggests ConnectSA, championed by Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, will face serious headwinds when voters decide the fate of its public-transit component in November.

The VIA Reimagined portion of the plan calls for shifting the 1/8 cent sales tax that now funds aquifer protection into VIA's coffers so it can expand bus service. While Nirenberg has proposed moving aquifer protection under the San Antonio Water System, that would likely cut the program's funding in half.

In a brief statement texted to the Current, Nirenberg said the Bexar Facts poll shows that all three local programs are popular.

"This isn't an either-or choice," he said of funding both VIA and aquifer protection. "We can and will have both. We will be protecting the aquifer and funding transportation needs at a higher level. Both have majority support."

However, the poll results also show that one has considerably less support than the other two. And what are elections, after all, but popularity contests?

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