November 2022: See Candidates' Stance on Transportation

From the Bexar County Judge Forum hosted by NOWCastSA:

Q: Why is there no bus service in unincorporated areas of the county? Commissoner’s court has spent hundreds of millions beautifying downtown San Antonio. What plans do you have for unincorporated areas of the county? (51:08) 

Trish DeBerry (51:33): “Lets see if we can impact that a couple of different ways because I mean we are a growing County, we’re going to have six million people here in Bexar County in 2015. Pretty soon, all of the County lines and the suburban city lines are going to start to merge together, but one of the things I did as a County Commissioner was really forge relationships with those suburban cities and those mayors whether it was in Castle Hills, whether it was in Fair Oaks, whether it was in Olmos Park, , whether it was Alma Height what have you. I formed relationships with all the mayors because they all have individual projects, and I tell you what, we came together like nobody’s business during snowmageddon, to make sure those people had water and to make sure that we were getting out and we were advocating really because by the way, we didn’t have water stations, the County did not or the city did not appropriate monies for water stations that were beyond the unincorporated areas and so the County stepped in and said no, no, no. There are alot of people that live outside the city limits, we’ve got to have water stations out there. And so that’s when that community and I really came together to be able to work together, and so we’re absolutely right, those relationships with suburban cities are critical and we have to be meeting with them every month, twenty-six suburban cities so that we can make sure we’re addressing HealthCare needs and to your point quickly too Elaine about you know, why not bus service in the unincorporated areas? It’s unacceptable that we don’t have bus service in the unincorporated areas but a lot of it is because VIA is a metropolitan, San Antonio owned entity for the most part, much like CPS Energy, but the County’s got to play a role in that and if we got to be able to appropriate the money in the right veins to make sure that not just this community but seniors in particular, have the ability, whether you live inside the city limits of San Antonio, or whether you live in Somerset or Von Ormy, that you have access to a bus and you have access to transportation, so it’s got to be a focus and it’s got to be a priority. You will get that with me as your next Bexar County Judge, thank you.”

Peter Sakai (54:23): “To answer the first question, leadership with VIA, so what we need to do is I’m making a commitment today to say why aren’t we connected with unincorporated areas, obviously it’s going to be the supply and demand but the bottom line is we need to connect all parts of the community, and that’s the reason why these conversations are going to be important, because there’s going to be a cost issue there of how we pay for it, how we subsidize it, but I believe with the one A sales tax has now been voted over to come over to VIA and to leverage those federal funds, we now have an opportunity to basically provide better services, more so provide essential services to the unincorporated areas into the suburban cities, also believe in history, there has not been a communication and relationship, and as your next County Judge, I have sat down and talked to the mayors of the unincorporated areas. I was a city attorney, a city prosecutor for Helotes, Leon Valley, Elmendorf, Kirby, Converse. I understand those cities and sometimes they kinda want to be to themselves, they just want to like ‘no’, but if they want the services, they want to be part of this multi-modal transportation, they want to be part-connected and that’s what’s going to happen, is that as we develop Economic Development and my commitment is to make sure that we are growing with economic development, multi-modal transportation, VIA is going to be essential and it’s going to be up to the leadership and make sure that whoever I appoint to that VIA board is committed to make sure that we have access. And then the last one… I am committed to a Back to Basics Budget, bare necessities which we will focus in on the true infrastructure of our County and that’s the children and the families. I applaud commission Judge Wolf and the Legacy projects, but let's focus in on what’s important, and that’s the children, the families, and the seniors of our community, thank y’all very much.”


Q: As County Judge, how do you see the role of County government with regard to housing, healthcare, transportation, intercepted with poverty rates? (1:20:49)

Trish DeBerry (1:21:17): “Well that’s a loaded question because all of those things contribute to the poverty rate that we have here in San Antonio. I talked about it before and I’ve really been the only candidate running for Bexar County Judge that has been talking about generational poverty. How do we pull people out of generational poverty? So if we look at the big idea that I know my opponent doesn’t agree with, is moving the Bexar County Jail out of the near west side which by the way, has been dumped on for far too long. You have Haven for Hope which does a great job, it does regarding the homeless, but you got that coupled with the Bexar County Jail that’s right there too, it is a barrier to economic development and it keeps people in poverty because guess what the poorest zip code that we have here in Bexar County is where? And has been for forty years, 78207. Where is it located? Right behind the Bexar County Jail. Until such time, as we look at things differently and what that looks like and look, we atleast have to explore the issue associated with that. Cost benefit analysis, what are the jobs that would be created? What is the economic impact associated with it. If we decide after we do that study because the job of Judge and the CEO of the County is to not say no to bold ideas that will move people out of poverty. It is to say yes we will explore it and see what we can do and how we might be able to move the needle, and if it doesn’t pan out or if it’s too much then we don't do it, but we can divert to other ways to be able to pull people out of poverty because that is the problem we have here folks, it is generational poverty, so it is removing the barriers to pull people out of poverty because guess what? A rising tide floats all boats, right? It is the things we talked about, accessibility and affordability to Healthcare, potential merger between Metro Health and UHS, it is about transportation and mobility regarding linear parks and also making sure that we have not just transportation all the way to unincorporated areas, but we also have County-wide wi-fi, it”s all of it together.”

Peter Sakai (1:23:54): “Although it may sound like a loaded question, it isn’t and in fact the answer is in the question in itself, and that’s the ability to recognize all those points that you pointed out that create the highest rate of poverty. That is really the weakest part of Bexar County, especially when we look at the unincorporated areas and areas that have been traditionally neglected, because of basically equity. They’ve always gone to other parts of the County and so what I said earlier all falls into place if you really hear it. It’s about housing and to make sure that seniors, especially seniors that age in place, that we have communications with the neighborhood association so that gentrification isn’t pushing people out and pricing them out. We’re going to have to lower those property taxes, so an understanding that we’ve got to provide basic services but we’re going to have to keep the lid on property taxes so that the seniors can basically not be priced out of their homes. We’re also going to have that transportation question so that when we deal with the Healthcare access, we got to have VIA and University Hospital Systems talking to each other so that seniors can have access to Healthcare. We’ve also identified one of the basic infrastructure issues with digital divide and that we need high-speed internet in order for that people will be connected to Healthcare, their telemedicine, their small businesses that will connect in order to succeed in their community. And so the answer to that question is to focus in on what those problems are, bring the stakeholders together, bring the experts together and that’s my commitment to you, is to identify those problems and then let’s come together as a community and come up with those solutions, and I have no doubt that we can overcome and deal with the issue of poverty and generational poverty and overcome it, and we’re going to have to focus in and Elaine, you covered that with education in our public school system and I’ll cover that later.”


From the KLRN Bexar County Judge Forum hosted by Randy Beamer:

How do you envision dealing with infrastructure and transportation issues with the steady influx of people in the county and how will you implement your plan?

Edgar Coyle (24:45): “I think we really need to put the emphasis on roads; all the roads that go throughout the county, not just San Antonio…We need to put the focus on where the congestion is and you see a lot of people now moving from inside 410 and 1604 to a little bit outside of 1604, so we really need to focus on 1604. I would definitely make that a high priority as far as the budget.”

Trish DeBerry (25:36): “We’re going to have to start looking at a third loop and that means we take a very close look at Highway 46…TxDOT is already doing investigative studies regarding what it would take to bring Highway 46 to fruition as a third loop, but we gotta have those counties at the table too and I’ve had conversations as a result of being on the Alamo Area Council of Governments. I have relationships with the judges and all of those surrounding counties.”

Peter Sakai (27:18): “I want to commit to make sure that we put those projects with the minimal disruption to the small businesses and to the cities that it will affect. But at the same time, what we need to recognize is it’s not a matter of building more lanes. What we need to do is look at advanced rapid transit and make sure that we are moving people in the best way.”

From the Bexar County Judge Forum hosted by North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce:

What are your top transportation priorities? Are they in alignment with our partners? (18:15)

Trish DeBerry (18:25): "So the year that I served as County Commissioner, I served on the board of the Alamo Area Council of Governments where we talked a lot about, you know, state money and appropriating dollars for infrastructure. I also served on the board of the MPL, created great relationships with judges and many of the other counties, as well as the county commissioners in the other counties. As we look at, and I mentioned this before, as we look at growth associated with San Antonio, we can't become another Austin. It's about forecasting 10 to 20 years ahead and that is what we will do as we look at infrastructure to keep this economy moving forward. When we talk about big bold ideas and transportation and what we absolutely positively have to be able to do. We have to be looking at a third Loop. Highway 46, people like to talk about it and you know it's a controversial topic, but as we look at the amount of traffic that's moving through Boerne, 18-wheelers that are coming off of 46 and going through the town of Boerne and creating havoc on their roads. By the way $7 billion dollars worth of traffic projects on the ground here in Bexar County right now, $3 billion dollars worth of infrastructure projects that are in downtown alone, and so focusing on that. And I've got a great relationship with Bruce Bugg, who is obviously head of the Texas Transportation Commission. My treasure is (inaudible) who of course was on the Texas Transportation Commission as well. So they are great relationships there and so highway 46 as a third loop may be somewhat controversial, but we're going to have to work through that because if we don't keep people moving in this community from a quality-of-life standpoint and as somebody who has worked on a number of infrastructure projects at GM and also with the Advanced Transportation District, I know transportation and I know that's the key to our future, so I'm going to advocate for those projects. It is money on the ground here and it creates jobs for people, which is the most important thing, and critically important is it contributes to quality of life. Thank you"

Peter Sakai (20:34): "Great question Eddie, in regard to Transportation obviously I'm going on record to commit to the I-35 Corridor, the double-decker, and making sure that we get that project gone, obviously. And talking to the Northeast mayors which I have, obviously is going to create an impact locally as in, it's the same thing with any construction and so we are going to have to be sensitive to all that business community along that corridor. Also wanna make sure that we have a commitment to finish out the 1604 Loop and so bef- I-I understand my opponents desire to look but I think we've got projects on here that we've got to make sure that we are talking altogether. Remember what I sa- indicated earlier, what I bring, the ability to communicate, the ability to collaborate, and the ability to coordinate and it's gonna take all the stakeholders, especially in transportation to continue those projects, to minimize the impact that it'll have on the business community and in and municipalities that they will fall in.

Obviously what we need to look is multi-motor transportation we can't continue to keep putting more cars out or try to open more lanes, we're going to have to really work on (inaudible) and work on how we could move people through our community and basically the issue there is a bigger, long vision is to make sure that we don't get to non-attainment, and those issues that as county judge we need to be sensitive to, so that what we have to do is look at the whole process. We have to look at what those problems are and what those obstacles are and we must come together in order to resolve those resolution and it's not going to necessarily fall on the county it's going to take a community to come together. And especially with the chambers, y'all are the voice and power of your community and I will assure you that I will have a seat at the table for all of y'all, who are important to this community, and to make sure I listen to your concerns and that's my promise to you as your next county judge."