Some environmentalists objected to a provision inserted in the proposal that exempts the trucking industry from some air pollution regulations. “It throws disadvantaged communities under the bus,” said Joshua Stark, a director for the transportation policy group TransForm. “We can’t support a deal that sacrifices public health for public transportation — California needs both."
But several Bay Area transportation officials said it’s unclear whether the administration will fund public transit projects of any kind. Stuart Cohen, the executive director of TransForm, a transportation advocacy nonprofit, said he was immediately struck by the apparent hypocrisy in the proposed budget.
“This is the perfect project if you care about infrastructure, if you care about jobs and if you care about focusing on areas that are going to deliver long-term economic benefit,” said Stuart Cohen, the executive director of TransForm, a nonprofit group that advocates public transportation.
“We already can assume a mega-project will have a negative impact on certain communities,” said Clarrissa Cabansagan of the transportation policy group TransForm. She pointed to even more recent projects, like the Oakland Airport Connector, as an example of a poorly planned and executed transit expansion. “Let’s make sure we don’t make the same mistakes of the OAC that just flew past East Oakland,” Cabansagan said.
Though transportation funding is needed in San Francisco, Stuart Cohen, executive director of the transportation advocacy group TransForm, said the need is highest where transportation is less developed.
Nina Rizzo, a member of TransForm’s GreenTRIP team, lauded Greenheart’s efforts to discourage car use among future Station 1300 residents by separating parking space expenses from rent. “Those who don’t want a space don’t have to pay for a space,” Rizzo said. “We want to see more housing for people than cars.”
TransForm, a Bay Area nonprofit working on increasing sustainable transportation choices, issued a statement pointing out that while this investment in transit is encouraging, it’s not enough to rely on money from cap-and-trade: We cannot count on climate funds alone to meet our public transportation needs, and we are disappointed that none of the new transportation revenue is allocated to transit.
Public Advocates Inc., on behalf of Genesis, Urban Habitat and TransForm, two social justice organizations and a transportation policy advocate, launched a formal civil rights complaint against BART on the grounds it failed to analyze how the service would affect minority and low-income residents, a requirement for any project receiving federal funds.
With elevated platforms and more comfortable stations, its own travel lane and forward-facing cameras to ticket motorists who block its path, the bus rapid transit (BRT) will feel a lot different from a typical AC Transit bus, said Joël Ramos, the transportation policy director for TransForm, a transportation advocacy nonprofit. “It’s hard to understand and imagine until you see it,” Ramos said. “But it’s going to be really transformative.”
Josh Stark, writing at TransForm, says it doesn’t. “It’s a big proposal,” he writes, and a big deal for Californians. We need a fix for our worn-down roads and aging public transportation systems. And now, with brand new, stronger climate policies on the books, we also need to find fixes that reduce emissions from transportation.
Clarrissa Cabansagan, a senior community planner at TransForm, said the lifeline service would continue to help low-income residents, communities of color, working people, the disabled and seniors access work, school, health care and wherever else they need to go.
Measure RR supporters, including Joel Ramos of transit advocacy group Transform, said it’s crucial to rebuild the BART system — and without delay.
“We cannot afford to push this system further into disrepair by not passing Measure RR,” he said.
“We’re really happy with what Oakland has done in updating its parking codes,” said Jennifer West, senior program manager at GreenTRIP, which encourages more environmentally friendly development and is a project of the Oakland nonprofit TransForm. “We work at TransForm on both climate and equity issues, and parking hits both in that parking drives up the cost of housing significantly. We think housing people, not cars, is the best way to go forward.
“Anybody who has ever tried to get anywhere lately, especially in peak hours, knows our transportation systems are a mess,” said Joel Ramos, the regional planning director for TransForm, a transportation advocacy nonprofit. “They can’t afford to wait anymore."
The outreach programs will be spearheaded by TransForm, a nonprofit that promotes walkable communities with excellent transportation choices to connect people of all incomes to opportunity and help solve the climate crisis.