Transportation Justice Program
Despite turning 50 years old this month, AC Transit is hardly in a celebratory mood.
The bus agency - a lifeline for many Oaklanders - is wilting under continuous service cuts, worker layoffs, rider dissatisfaction, labor issues and low morale.
And riders must now brace themselves for even further cuts as the agency is set to deliver a one-two combination of service cuts ... with more likely to follow in 2011.
It’s a bleak way to start a silver anniversary.
Bay Area transit agencies are about to get tens of millions of dollars more to maintain and replace their aging fleets of vehicles, the federal Department of Transportation announced today.
The grants, part of a $776 million outlay to 152 projects nationwide, announced in a national conference call by Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Federal Transit Agency head Peter Rogoff.
"This means that transit providers can finally make many of the repairs they have been putting off," LaHood said.
When: Saturday, October 23
Where: Oakland City Hall, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland
What: Rally for justice for Oscar Grant
Oscar Grant was shot in the back by BART Policeman Johannes Mehserle while lying face down on a BART platform. Mehserle will be sentenced on November 5th and we need to get out on the 23rd to show the sentencing judge that we mean business. It took video evidence AND a massive outpouring in downtown Oakland to even get the District Attorney to charge Mehserle. It will take people in the streets to get the killer cop jailed.
OAK_rendering1At a hastily scheduled board meeting today, BART’s directors once again voted to approve the Oakland Airport Connector (OAC), this time granting General Manager Dorothy Dugger the flexibility to proceed with the contract, despite several outstanding sources of funding still unresolved.
BART needed to send strong signals to the contracting team of Parsons/Flatiron that the agency intended to move forward with the construction bid, which is set to expire on September 21st, one year after it was initially awarded. BART has been scrambling to fill a funding gap created when the Federal Transit Administration denied the agency $70 million in federal stimulus funds because it hadn’t done a proper civil rights review.
The long-term impacts to transportation funding as a result of the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) civil rights compliance probe of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) won't be clear for some time, but the action by the federal administration has transportation policy circles buzzing. Experts in civil rights and regional planning policy couldn't point to another instance of a metropolitan planning organization (MPO) like the MTC being required to submit to similar scrutiny from the FTA, while social justice advocates felt vindicated for their longstanding contention of discrimination in transportation funding. The FTA probe stemmed from a complaint by Public Advocates, a civil rights law firm in San Francisco, over BART's failure to properly analyze the equity impacts of its fare policy for the controversial Oakland Airport Connector (OAC) as required under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. As a result of the complaint, the FTA denied BART $70 million in federal stimulus funds for the project. Because the MTC channels significant federal funds to BART and because it continually approved motions to send stimulus funds to an agency that ultimately failed its responsibility to comply with Title VI, the FTA turned its eye on MTC.
New Civil Rights Investigation Probes Agency Role in Airport Connector Project
San Francisco, CA –The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has rejected claims by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) that it is not responsible for civil rights compliance by Bay Area transit operators, and opened a new investigation into MTC’s civil rights practices. The probe comes just six months after FTA withdrew $70 million in federal stimulus funds from BART after finding it had not complied with a range of civil rights protections.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin by recipients of federal financial assistance. As the Bay Area’s regional transportation agency, MTC distributes funds to area transit agencies. It must ensure, and formally certify, that transportation planning and funding decisions in the nine-county region meet all civil rights requirements.
Presented to the BART Board of Directors, May 13, 2010
BART's Draft Public Participation Plan (PPP) is a good first step toward providing meaningful public participation in BART decisions. But it is missing some crucial components. We recommend additional steps be taken to ensure the public input is not empty, but has real impact.
By adopting these recommendations, you will make the public a partner in BART decision-making as well as move the agency towards achieving the ultimate objectives of Civil Rights and Environmental Justice regulations.
BART recently announced an unprecedented community outreach schedule to improve outreach to “minorities and other underrepresented communities.” What BART didn’t announce was that it was only doing this to fulfill a federal funding requirement, not out of concern or moral obligation to the poor and disadvantaged.
Earlier this year, the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) withheld $70 million in stimulus monies because BART ignored civil rights issues, both with its proposed Oakland Airport Connector (OAC) project, and as an agency as a whole. From the murder of Oscar Grant, to fare hikes and service cuts to BART’s arrogance over the OAC project, the transit agency has consistently shown disregard for low-income and communities of color. BART’s public meetings are part of their efforts to get back into compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.