For a city like San Antonio, the infrastructure is like the foundation of a house. If you don’t build it correctly, the rest of the house doesn’t work right. That’s why Commissioner Kevin Wolff is so passionate about transportation in the Alamo City, because it’s the infrastructure that the entire city is built on.
Transportation = Options
If you really think about it, transportation dictates so much of our lives, from where we live and work to what we do on the weekends. Would you ever leave your neighborhood if it took more than an hour to get anywhere? Probably not. Commissioner Wolff often reminds himself and his colleagues that we wouldn’t even be able to enjoy our great city if we didn’t have a working transportation system.
Growing up in San Antonio, if it took more than 15 minutes to get anywhere, it was a long time. Then, after living in Manhattan for part of his adult life, the Commissioner realized how easy it is for people to get used to extensive commutes. He doesn’t want that for San Antonio.
“The city is going to continue to grow, so we can’t avoid traffic altogether,” Commissioner Wolff said. “But if we can prevent it from getting much worse, that’s a success.”
Why toll roads aren’t the first option
As chair of the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), Commissioner Wolff backs transportation initiatives that benefit the most residents of San Antonio. In August of 2018, the MPO and Commissioner Wolff voted against tolling 1604 during its upcoming improvements project. He pushed for finding inventive ways to pay for the upgrades instead of automatically putting it on the people.
The plans for 1604 are to expand by an average of three lanes in each direction from Bandera Road to IH-35, as well as adding a brand-new interchange at I-10 and 1604, all without tolling San Antonio drivers.
While the 1604 Improvements Projects is top-of-mind for Commissioner Wolff, as a member of the MPO, it’s his job to think years, even decades, into the future.
“One of the things we’ve tried to do is make plans as flexible as possible to take advantage of things we don’t know exist yet,” Commissioner Wolff said.
A glimpse into the future
That includes yet-to-be-released technology like autonomous vehicles that the Commissioner and his colleagues have to be mindful of. He aims to think about transportation more holistically—it’s not how many cars, trains, or buses you can move, but how many people you can move. That’s the key to a successful transportation system.
Not only is efficient transportation important for the day-to-day person going about their lives, but it can be used as a recruitment tool for businesses and industries considering moving to San Antonio.
“If we don’t build the proper infrastructure, we don’t attract the people and businesses that make the city run,” Commissioner Wolff said. “Transportation, water, power—these are the bedrock of our city.”