I’m off to the BART board meeting in a few minutes, but I wanted to mention that if you’d like to follow it in real time, check out dto510 and Max Allstadt on Twitter. They both did an excellent job of covering the last meeting, and I promise that you’ll not only be informed, but also entertained.
Also, check out the excellent editorial printed today in several local MediaNews papers:
In the past, we have been supportive of the airport linkage. But the new financial and ridership projections have made us rethink our position.
It’s not surprising that the ridership projections for the airport link have plummeted. Air travel has been hard hit by the economic downturn and soaring fuel prices. Oakland Airport also has been hurt badly because some key carriers have moved more service across the Bay to the San Francisco Airport. The number of Oakland passengers this year will be only about two-thirds the total in 2005…
In an ideal world, it would be great to have a fancy rail system to move passengers from their flights to BART. It would be great to mirror the service across the Bay at SFO. But the San Francisco Airport carries 64 percent of the region’s air passengers, while Oakland serves just 20 percent.
So, even though BART has some federal stimulus money to help pay for the light-rail system, spending it to build a money-losing entity that will create more operating debt for the district in the future makes little sense. The stimulus money could probably be better spent on other Bay Area transportation projects.
Meanwhile, BART has a much cheaper alternative — improved bus service — to shuttle passengers from the Coliseum station to the airport terminal. It’s time to put the brakes on the light-rail plan and look at other solutions.
Now, go read the whole thing, and let’s hope that BART directors have the same revelation.