Streetcar Impact on the San Antonio Economy

A proposed $280 million streetcar system in San Antonio will drive billions of dollars worth of new economic activity over a 25-year period, say officials with VIA Metropolitan Transit.

VIA is basing that assessment on a new study conducted by the SABÉR Research Institute, which concludes that construction of the system alone will support more than 4,000 jobs with incomes and benefits totaling $206 million, and have an overall economic impact of roughly $1.8 billion.

Steven R. Nivin, Ph.D., director and chief economist for the institute, led the study, and he says once the streetcar system is built out, it will attract 7 million square feet of new development with a taxable value of $756 million annually.

New businesses along the streetcar corridor are expected to employ nearly 8,500 full-time equivalent positions earning wages and benefits of about $387 million annually. It is anticipated that those new businesses will pump $1.3 billion into the local economy.

“The streetcar project is not a stand-alone project. It’s part of a comprehensive transportation plan … ,” says VIA Board Chairman Alexander Briseño. “We’re not talking about the needs of the people today; we’re talking about the needs of the people of the future,” said Briseño. “We need to provide options and alternatives. This system, as part of that comprehensive transportation plan, provides one of those alternatives.”

W. Scott Bailey

San Antonio Business Journal

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