Outgoing Via Metropolitan Transit Board chair Hope Andrade
Hope Andrade was recommended by Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff to again serve as chair of the VIA Metropolitan Transit Board. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff recommended Hope Andrade to again serve as chair of the VIA Metropolitan Transit Board.

The announcement comes soon after current chair Rey Saldaña announced his coming resignation from the board to serve as president and CEO of Communities in Schools in Washington D.C. on Tuesday morning.

Andrade stepped down from the board in June last year after serving as chair for more than five years, but she has up to nine months left before hitting the eight-year term limit, officials said. Before becoming chair, she was a member of the board.

If her nomination is approved by the VIA board, she will be able to serve through the November election, when voters are slated to decide whether to increase VIA bus frequency with another one-eighth-cent sales tax.

Andrade, who is a co-owner of the company that runs the City’s river barges and previously served as chair of the Texas Transportation Commission and Texas Secretary of State, is also a tri-chair of ConnectSA, a nonprofit formed by Nirenberg and Wolff to craft a comprehensive multimodal transportation plan. Part of that plan includes increasing funding to VIA through the sales tax.

That tax has been used to fund a program aimed at protecting the Edwards Aquifer for two decades, but officials – including Nirenberg – are looking to instead fund that program through the San Antonio Water System.

“Hope Andrade has a unique level of expertise in transportation and an abundance of leadership experience and skill,” Nirenberg said in a press release. “Hope’s steady hand at the wheel will be invaluable as we move toward an important transportation election in November.”

Nirenberg and Wolff asked Andrade to extend her previous term as VIA board chair twice before they selected Saldaña to serve in 2019.

“She implemented the Ride to Vote, [which provides] fare-free transportation for voters on Election Day [and] the full fleet conversion to renewable energy buses,” Wolff stated. “She’s now coming back to this role at a critical time. She’s taken challenges head on and turned them into successes. I look forward to working with her as we move forward.”

Iris Dimmick

Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and workforce development. Contact her at iris@sareport.org