Disclosure: I am again doing some work for TransForm on the Oakland Airport Connector campaign.
As you’ve no doubt heard, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) voted last week to give BART a bit more time to convince the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) that it has its act together and can complete its equity analysis in time to secure stimulus funding for the Oakland Airport Connector (OAC). The drop dead date approved by MTC is February 16th – by that date, if FTA does not approve BART’s equity action plan, the $70 million in stimulus funds will be redistributed to the regional transit agencies that desperately need it.
If FTA does approve BART’s action plan, MTC will meet on February 17th to vote on what to do. At that point, they can vote to keep the funds with BART for the OAC and pray that BART will follow through on its equity analysis. Or, they could vote to re-appropriate the funds to the transit agencies.
So there are still two decision makers at play here – FTA and MTC.
Many people have been asking me if there’s anything left to do. They want to take action. They want to make sure that the MTC does not roll the dice and gamble $70 million away, when the transit agencies desperately need it and BART has shown repeatedly that it is unable or unwilling to move forward with an equitable connector.
The one year fight for an equitable connector is likely coming to an end – either we’ll be stuck with an unequitable overhead connector that does not improve transit to the airport and wastes the region’s limited funds, or BART will have to start over and will hopefully embrace the bus rapid transit alternative that TransForm proposed last year.
There is one last thing you can do. Write to the FTA. Applaud them for their actions to date to ensure an equitable project, and urge them to insist that BART objectively and publicly complete the required civil rights analysis.
It’s easy to do. Visit TransForm’s action page and personalize your message. I know you have a lot to say. Say it, but keep it civil and positive. FTA has shown that they care about equity and that they will hold BART accountable for its actions. Let’s make sure they continue to do this. Send an email now and ask your friends, family, and coworkers to do the same.
Previous posts on the Oakland Airport Connector:
- 1/27/10: Heminger to MTC – let’s give BART some more time; Advocates to MTC – reprogram the money now
- 1/26/10: Bay Area bloggers unite to urge MTC not to gamble stimulus funds on Oakland Airport Connector
- 1/20/10: OMG, OMG, OMG! FTA withholds funding from BART for OAC
- 12/9/09: Believe it or not, the final Oakland Airport Connector project is even worse than expected
- 11/17/09: Fight against Oakland Airport Connector leads to FTA civil rights investigation of BART
- 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