I wish I’d had time to write about this one, but I’ve been so backlogged with budget stuff. And Becks has been covering it so well. In case you’ve somehow missed it all, though, here’s the deal.
A few months ago, the MTC voted to award $70 million in stimulus funds to BART’s ridiculously wasteful elevated people mover instead of giving them to local transit agencies. The catch was that even with the $70 million, the Airport Connector project was still short about $70 million. If they wanted to keep the stimulus money, BART had to come up with the rest of the cash by July.
So BART of course doesn’t have $70 million, so they decided to take out a $150 million loan to cover the cost. When a bunch of transit advocates showed up at the meeting to protest the loan and the wasteful airport connector project in general, they scored a temporary win, and the Board decided to delay their decision.
And today is the big day! TransForm has prepared an alternative proposal for connection, which they call RapidBART (PDF), would cost a small fraction of the skytrain, would benefit the Hegenberger corridor instead of bypassing it, and would be free to ride instead of $12 round trip.
What will the BART Board do? Well, even though nobody except BART staff and the construction unions support the project, it’s all still up in the air. For real-time updates, check out dto510 and Max Allstadt on twitter.
And if you’ve somehow missed all the discussion around this, here are some links to help you catch up:
- Living in the O: Take Action: Turn the Oakland Airport Connector into RapidBART
- Living in the O: BART staff coordinate Oakland airport connector astroturg campaign
- Contra Costa Times: Rapid bus touted as cheaper than rail to the Oakland Airport
- BART Safety and Service: BART Airport Connector fiscally irresponsible
- Streetsblog: Advocates, Unions call for BRT connector service to Oakland airport
- Tri-City Beat: Unions oppose BART to Oakland airport extension
- MediaNews Editorial: It’s time for BART to rethink the Oakland Airport connector
- Fragmentary Evidence: The train to nowhere
- The Black Hour: Stop BART’s Oakland Airport Connector
Update: Everyone except the BART Board, apparently. They just voted 7-1 (Radulovich) to take out the $150 million loan.