I didn’t expect to be writing about the Oakland Airport Connector (OAC) anytime soon, and I certainly didn’t expect to be sharing good news about it. Well, ok, maybe it’s not good news about the OAC, but I do have some incredible news to share about the outcome of our efforts to stop the OAC.
Today, Public Advocates Inc. and TransForm announced that their Title VI civil rights complaint against BART over the OAC has led to a full Title VI investigation of BART by the FTA! From the press release:
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Office of Civil Rights will conduct an on-site compliance review of BART’s entire Title VI program “within the next several months,” based in part on a complaint filed by transit policy experts and community advocacy groups. That complaint charged that in the rush to build the controversial Oakland Airport Connector (OAC), BART officials were evading well-established civil rights obligations…
A letter from FTA to Public Advocates Inc. staff attorney Guillermo Mayer informing him of the action reads in part:
“The specific issues in your complaint are being addressed from a broader perspective by this compliance review, with the intent of resolving any issues of non-compliance identified. If we make findings of deficiencies, FTA will monitor activities until we determine that the deficiencies noted are corrected.”
“We’ll have to wait and see what FTA finds, but the fact they find this case worthy of comprehensive federal review is a giant step forward,” said Mayer. “It also sends a strong message to agencies like BART and MTC that they’re going to have to start taking their civil rights obligations more seriously.”
I’m not sure what will come of this, but one thing I do know is that this never would have happened if we hadn’t worked so hard to stop the OAC. And even though the OAC seems to be moving forward, we could have accomplished something much bigger. Again, from the press release:
“We are fighting for a strong, sustainable BART, one that meets the needs of all Bay Area residents,” said John Knox White, Program Manager for TransForm. “This move by the FTA validates our concerns that the OAC planning process has not openly presented key information about a project that we feel will lead to future fare increases and service cuts on the BART system.”
Thanks to everyone who helped make this happen! I’ll be watching this process closely and will report back when I have more information.
Previous posts on the Oakland Airport Connector:
- 10/6/09: Breaking down the Chamber’s misinformation on the OAC
- 9/28/09: Stop the OAC: Urge the Oakland City Council to pass a resolution opposing this boondoggle
- 9/16/09: Oakland Public Works to BART: Oakland does have a stake in the OAC
- 8/11/09: Sign the Petition: Stop the Oakland Airport Connector – Demand a Better Connector!
- 7/21/09: Transportation Day of Action in Oakland Tomorrow!
- 7/17/09: Oakland Public Works Committee strongly questions Oakland Airport Connector
- 6/29/09: It’s time for the City Council to weigh in on the Oakland Airport Connector
- 6/16/09: Don Perata on Oakland Airport Connector: “Too much money for too little transit”
- 5/29/09: Oakland Airport Connector now in the hands of the Port Commission
- 5/13/09: BART staff coordinate Oakland Airport Connector astroturf campaign
- 5/8/09: Take Action: Turn Oakland Airport Connector into RapidBART
- 4/27/09: Advocates secure temporary win on the Oakland Airport Connector
- 4/22/09: BART’s brilliant plant for financing the Oakland Airport Connector
- 2/23/09: Protect Bay Area Transit: Stop MTC from Wasting Stimulus Funds