Whether the County can use sales-tax proceeds from the Advanced Transportation District to build a streetcar line is a question for the courtroom, not the Attorney General, Greg Abbott said in an opinion issued Monday.
State Senator Jeff Wentworth requested the opinion in March at the behest of opponents of San Antonio's downtown streetcar plan, who believe using ATD funds would violate the terms of the VIA resolution that called the 2004 election, as well as a second resolution that was passed by the VIA board. Both of those documents promised explicitly not to use proceeds from the 1/4-cent sales-tax increase to fund light-rail projects – a promise that was repeated in campaign literature. (A separate light-rail proposition was defeated ignominiously in 2000 by 40 points.)
During the campaign, Wentworth added, VIA promised that no more than 50 percent of total ATD revenue would be used for public transportation, a pledge it can't keep under the current streetcar funding plan.