UPDATE: For more posts relating to this subject, check out this roundup at Living in the O, and tell the MTC you’d like to see those federal dollars spent better. Given that BART’s about to announce more cuts, this is a chance to “un-screwup” transit in the Bay Area for once.
Hey! All this week you can get 15% off T-shirts and other items at any Zazzle store or at the N Judah Chronicles store using the code ZAZZLEFORYOU. Offer ends Feb. 3rd!
Over the weekend I got an email from Rebecca at Living in the O about a situation (also reported by Eric at Transbay Blog) about a rather odd situation developing regarding $70 million in federal funds floating around the Bay, and how there may be a chance to rescue said federal cash from a rather useless, expensive project, and distribute it to cash strapped agencies to pay for much needed maintenance.
Basically, the much maligned BART Oakland Airport Connector, a $70 million “bridge to nowhere” style project hasn’t been meeting certain federal guidelines to be able to accept the federal cash. If BART doesn’t get its act together and have said report signed, sealed and delivered by March 5th, said $70 million leaves the Bay Area for elsewhere. Normally, citizens would be in the position of taking federal cash (and the jobs it might provide) for a bad project, or seeing said cash go to some other state or region.
However, there’s a silver lining. The Metropolitian Transportation Commission can vote this week to have the cash re-allocated to maintenance projects for Muni, BART, AC Transit and other looted transit agencies. Under the rules, this money cannot be used for big pay for anyone, only actual maintenance projects.
This would be a good thing in a time of budget crapola. Personally, I think that if we’re going to see the feds spend money, the least they can do is spend it on something that might actually be of use, instead of blowing out the deficit for something that doesn’t help.
If you’re interested in this issue and would like to see a minimizing of budget silliness in the Bay Area, you can email the MTC and let them know what you think, or if you can attend the meeting on Wednesday, January 27th, you can do that or listen in via the MTC website. (As always these things are during the day which makes it very difficult for people to attend in person). Incidentally, Sup. Chris Daly serves on the MTC Board, so you could always email him if you so choose.
This isn’t a cure-all, but it’d be nice to see more Muni trains in working order, and see things like tracks being repaired and buses in operation, versus seeing some Disney-esque, expensive, goofball project hog all the money.
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To be fair, I pretty much always fly out of SFO rather than OAK largely because I can take BART to SFO easily rather than the AirBART bus. I’m usually willing to accept a higher ticket price to do this (within reason).
My problem with the OAC is that they picked a slow people mover type design, which will be darn annoying considering the distance it has to cover. If they needed an automated design badly enough, something more akin to the Vancouver Skytrain would be faster, and have room for expansion beyond just the airport and the coliseum.
I love the SkyTrain in Vancouver. The new Canada Line from the airport to downtown is comparable to taxi travel time if you are going anywhere near the downtown stations.