As I blogged about last week, the FTA is withholding funds from BART's boondoggle project otherwise known as the Oakland Airport Connector. This is because "BART failed to conduct an equity analysis for service and fare changes for the Project." They have until March 5th to try to complete a study, and if they don't or it doesn't meet with the FTA's approval, $70 million in ARRA funds will be distributed to another region.
The FTA's letter (PDF file) encourages the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) to reallocate the funds to other transit here in the Bay Area, noting it is unlikely BART will be able to meet the deadline. This money could help BART, AC Transit and other transit agencies avoid service cuts and fare increases by giving money for needed maintenance.
(If you haven't been following the story, BART is not proposing an extension to Oakland Airport like the one to SFO. What they're proposing is a $492 million people mover, that will move slower than traffic for much of the journey. For comparison, the new station in Dublin is being built for about $80-$90 million. So for much less money, BART could build a new station at 98th Ave. and implement a bus rapid transit system (BRT), thereby improving service for airport riders and local residents.)
What you can do: On Wednesday, January 27th, the MTC will decide whether to gamble on a half-billion dollar airport tram for the elite by continuing to pursue funding for the project, thus risking the loss of $70 million in desperately needed stimulus funds or they can act in the interest of Bay Area Commuters and low-income families and moving the funds to save jobs and transit service for hundreds of thousands of Bay Area residents.
Attend the Rally for Justice and Jobs on Wednesday and tell MTC to stand up for commuters, low-income families and Bay Area jobs by putting $70 million to Bay Area Transit, not a rinky-dink people mover to the airport that will cost nearly 1/2 billion dollars total.
Rally for Justice and Jobs Info:
Wednesday, January 27
101 Eighth Street, Oakland
If you can't attend:
Send a letter to MTC telling them not to risk $70 million in jobs creating stimulus funds on a risky OAC project that has been found out of compliance by the FTA. Tell commissioners to save jobs and transit now, by sending an email here (If it's possible, please write your own message, it makes a bigger impact. It can be as short as one or two sentences!):