Busy Thursday – Oakland Airport Connector & Netroots Nation

21 Jul

In case you haven’t heard, the BART Board will not let the Oakland Airport Connector die and is bringing it back tomorrow for a vote. Here’s TransForm’s alert (I’m doing some work for TransForm on the OAC):

BART staff continue to ram the Oakland Airport Connector project through, despite huge risks to existing BART service and the fact that the project still doesn’t meet federal civil rights requirements.

With the Oakland Airport Connector’s price tag of nearly $500,000,000 and anticipated operating costs of least $14 million a year, the Oakland Airport Connector will put BART so deep in debt that it will limit their ability to take out loans for critically-needed projects to fix the existing system, like replacing aging BART cars.

This will likely lead to more fare increases and service cuts over time as BART riders have to foot the bill for BART’s bad decisions!

We need your help and we need it now:

  1. Join us on Thursday, July 22nd at 8:45am for a short rally and then to speak at the BART Board meeting where they’ll have a final vote on whether to move ahead with the Oakland Airport Connector. The rally and meeting will be held at 344 20th Street in Oakland in the BART Board Room on the 3rd floor.  Email me if you’ll attend and to get talking points.
  2. Email the BART Board today to urge them not to support moving ahead with the Oakland Airport Connector at this time.

Thanks for helping us tell BART loud and clear that this project is simply too risky.

So if you can make it tomorrow, please go and tell BART they’d be making a big mistake by moving forward.

I unfortunately won’t be able to make it to this important meeting. Why? Well, I’ll be in Vegas (if my delayed flight ever takes off).

I’m speaking at Netroots Nation, on an awesome panel – “California’s Challenge: From “Failifornia” to Progressive Laboratory.” Here’s the description:

This panel will examine how progressives are working to move California from being a failed state to a progressive laboratory for change, consider the opportunities and possibilities for fixing what has become broken and assess the obstacles the state still faces as we seek to restore the California Dream. California’s crisis continues, but we now have an opportunity to assess what needs to be done to provide solutions that meet the needs of all Californians. We’ll bring together progressive leaders from across the state to talk about the budget crisis, jobs and economic recovery, immigration reform and how activists in the netroots can help build coalitions with other groups and elected officials to produce change.

And I’ll be joined by some pretty awesome panelists – Robert Cruickshank from Courage Campaign, Brian Leubitz from Calitics, Sally Lieber, former Assembly Speaker Pro Tem, Thomas Saenz, President of MALDEF, and Lindsey Horvath, member, West Hollywood City Council.

I’m guessing most readers won’t make it to Vegas on such short notice, but if you’re interested in watching, you can watch online at 3pm tomorrow (Thursday). And if you want to follow the general fun of Netroots Nation, check out the #nn10 hashtag on Twitter.

6 Responses to “Busy Thursday – Oakland Airport Connector & Netroots Nation”

  1. oaklandhappenings July 22, 2010 at 6:00 am #

    If people here who haven’t already, will take the time to read the following,
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/07/21/BA5A1EGNG5.DTL
    it mentions that (a) BART’s general budget’s money would not be used to pay the loan, but (potential) OAC revenues; (b) “federal transit officials have approved BART’s plan to meet federal civil rights concerns”.
    This second pasting is from a letter forwarded to me by a colleague, from an Equal Opportunity Specialist of the FTA:
    It was addressed to BART’s general manager:
    <>
    Anyway, worth keeping in mind.

  2. oaklandhappenings July 22, 2010 at 6:04 am #

    *Pardon the repost– one part didn’t paste properly*
    If people here who haven’t already, will take the time to read the following,
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/07/21/BA5A1EGNG5.DTL
    it mentions that (a) BART’s general budget’s money would not be used to pay the loan, but (potential) OAC revenues; (b) “federal transit officials have approved BART’s plan to meet federal civil rights concerns”.
    This second pasting is from a letter forwarded to me by a colleague, from an Equal Opportunity Specialist of the FTA:
    It was addressed to BART’s general manager:
    “FTA’s Office of Civil Rights has approved the following *deliverables (*I have not seen this word used before, but oh well!):

    1. GM letter requiring full cooperation and correction of Title VI deficiencies
    2. Demographic analysis
    3. Inclusive public participation plan
    4. Major service change threshold
    5. Fare increase analysis between 2008 to 2009
    6. LEP factor 1
    7. Fare and service equity for Oakland Airport Connector Project

    Thank you for your continued effort on these matters. I would like to commend the staff who’ve been working on all the Title VI requirements. Unlike others who’ve faced this situation, your team has been open to all suggestions for improvement. I’d especially like to thank the Office of Civil Rights”
    Anyway, worth keeping in mind.

  3. Naomi Schiff July 22, 2010 at 10:10 am #

    The project is bogus whether or not the office of civil rights gets their approvals. The bigger picture is: this is a boondoggle and saps BARTs strength, weakening the system.

  4. oaklandhappenings July 24, 2010 at 1:21 am #

    Naomi, opponents and their efforts to slow, stall or “kill” the OAC are getting really annoying. Enough of this overused “Boondoggle” term; is that the only 3-syllable word people have in their vocabulary?
    The OAC must happen with no more delays.

  5. Naomi Schiff July 24, 2010 at 9:40 pm #

    There are a number of projects BART could and should undertake before they engage in an overly expensive, short-distance, commuter-ignoring, suitcase-schlepping piece of silly design that will do nothing to get people out of their cars and will cost too much. (If you prefer more syllables.) This project is a waste of money and a monument to why we should have a new cast of characters on the BART board of directors instead of reelecting the same old crew.

    • oaklandhappenings July 28, 2010 at 3:12 am #

      what makes you think that the OAC won’t get people out of their cars? It is partly because of AirBART’s lousiness that they stay in their cars [to get to the Airport] or have someone drop them off. Once again, the fare for OAC has not been determined yet, and likely won’t be until the project is near finished and based on the current economy. If it is improved by the time of completion, we may be only looking at a $3-4 one-way fare. This was mentioned in the Quick Facts section of the BART/OAC webpage.
      Also, since BART has a surplus, and may have more over the next few years if all goes well, that is money that can be used towards “other projects”. They are not dumping general fund money to pay loans; that will come from potential OAC revenues. With OAK traffic projected to be up more than 2% in passenger over last year, despite a still weak-economy, that is a big improvement over the ~15% drop over the last two years there. With new food concessions, new airlines having come (and still coming) reinstated flights, etc., things are turning around.

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