Here Are Tech Bloc's Top Priorities for 2016

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After jumping into the heated policy debate over transportation network companies Uber and Lyft in 2015, the group of tech professionals called Tech Bloc, which formed last year, is ready to take on 2016.

The group laid out its priorities last night at Tech2sday at Brooklynite. Aside from increasing civic engagement, which Tech Bloc says is the bedrock for a thriving "ecosystem" of engagement, the group has well-defined aspirations for the new year.

In their own words, here are Tech Bloc's goals for 2016:

1. Annexation. As we told you last year, we are concerned about the lack of focus we have in SA as we continue to expand our borders endlessly. We got involved in the annexation debate and helped slow down the vote so more data could be considered. We truly worry about the addition of more people in San Antonio that do not feel they are part of SA nor feel the need to make the investments to build a modern, competitive city. We funded a study that should be available in the coming week. We will keep you posted as we learn more. And keep an eye on this one as it will surely be in the press.

2. Lone Star Rail (LSR). You guys have bombarded us with interest in this project. The idea of making SA/AUS a super region is at the core of our beliefs at Tech Bloc and LSR is critical to it. We have just started our engagement and have meetings with all the leaders of the project in the coming weeks including the leaders most supportive of the project on the political side. We are eager to understand how this project can move faster. Stay tuned - our bet is we are going to need some help here!

3. Our City Strategy and the Bond of 2017. Every 5 years our city proposes a large package of investments funded by a bond package. Well the time is nearing, and our capacity for investment is in the 750 million to 1 billion range. Past bond packages are responsible for transformative projects like the River Extension and the Tobin Arts Center. We plan to work with civic leaders to develop a strong POV on the core elements lacking in our city that keeps it from developing, attracting and retaining the talent our economy will need to thrive in the future. The agenda will surely have a heavy dose of mixed use urban density and other amenities sought after by the young skilled work force of today. This is a huge undertaking and will be a lot of work. When the agenda is final we are going to need your political support. We need to let our leaders know that we plan to support those that support getting SA to the next level. Stay tuned here. 

And, of course, Tech Bloc is interested in all-things tech, which will be another major focus of its work in 2016. The group says the "tech ecosystem" needs to get to critical mass, which will create a "self reinforcing economy" creating opportunity for everyone.

Here's how they plan to reach critical mass:

1. Incentivize startups to come to SA. This is a partnership with Bexar County, the city and our economic development teams. We are working with these teams to create a solid action plan to make SA an appealing place for companies to relocate. This is still in the conversation phase but keep an ear out for this one- we need you all to tap your networks and help us make the sales pitch as to why SA would be a great place to move to. 

What do you think of Tech Bloc's goals? Feel free to send your thoughts on the topic to mreagan@sacurrent.com


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