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Steve Allison: A Streetcar Named Disaster

Steve Allison

Like most career politicians, Steve Allison can’t be trusted. What he says simply doesn’t match the facts.
After years in local public office, Allison is now looking to move up by running for State Representative in District 121 in northeast Bexar County. For the past eight years, Allison has served on the board of VIA Metropolitan Transit, which oversees public transportation in San Antonio. While on the board, Allison supported a failed infrastructure project to build a $280 million, 5.9-mile streetcar route in downtown San Antonio four years ago but now says otherwise.
On his campaign website, Allison now claims “As Vice Chairman of an area transit authority, Steve argued against an expensive street car boondoggle that he thought threatened to end in an economic disaster. Most people agreed with him and the plan was abandoned.”  
But as the San Antonio Express-News points out, Allison voted in favor of the streetcar route at least twice while he was on the VIA Metropolitan board. In other words, he was for the $280 million before (and after) he was against it.
When asked about the discrepancy between his claims and his actual votes on the streetcar project, Allison could only point to having recused himself from a Sept. 24, 2013 vote on the matter. He said his son was the youth director at a church near the site of the proposed route. But that’s not the end of the story.
Allison had already voted in favor of the streetcar project in July 2011, and he went on to vote for it again in December 2013. So his current claim of having been against the project simply doesn’t match the facts. After years of pushing the project, Allison and the VIA Board of Trustees suspended it, only after the city’s funding was pulled in response to public opposition in the form of 26,000 petition signatures.

As a result of scrapping the project, VIA lost queued federal funding for the transit agency and is now “at the back of the line for all future funding,” according to a source who spoke to San Antonio Express-News at the time.
Bexar County taxpayers can’t trust Steve Allison to manage their money, or to tell the truth. He mismanaged their money and then lied about it. Now he wants a promotion?
Our leaders need to tell the truth, and need to ethically and professionally manage our money.  We need to Reform Austin.

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