For a while now, the Oakland Airport Connector has been the subject of much controversy. To get about 2 miles, the OAC would cost well over $100 million, and would swallow up much of the Bay Area’s stimulus funding. Just to add another head scratcher to the mix, the OAC wouldn’t take passengers from the Coliseum station to the airport any faster than the current AirBart, especially an optimized AirBart with bus rapid transit lanes (BRT).
Local transportation advocates have been fighting the OAC for a while now, and grassroots leaders, with groups such as TransForm leading the charge, seem to have thrown the monkey wrench in the system that just might have finally killed this crazy idea.
After almost exactly a year of trying to make the Oakland Airport Connector (OAC) project equitable and cost-effective, it looks like we’ve finally won the original battle. Back in February 2009, more than a 100 advocates urged the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) not to provide stimulus funds to the OAC and instead to provide the funds to all the regional transit agencies to prevent service cuts and fare hikes.
MTC didn’t agree, but a year later, the Federal Transit Administration has told MTC that this is the only reasonable course of action.
FTA sent a letter to BART and MTC today saying that there’s simply not enough time to implement BART’s corrective action plan that had been mandated by FTA, and that MTC should turn to plan B and revert the $70 million in stimulus funds back to the regional transit agencies. (Living in the O)
You can read the full FTA letter here (PDF). With any luck that money will be distributed post haste to local transit agencies to help develop BRT projects and hopefully avoid some service cuts.
H/t to Living in the O. Becks has been doing absolutely amazing work, and the blog’s a must-read for everybody East Bay-ish.