"VTA has all this expansion planned," Cohen said. "At the same time, they have to find ways to bring down costs. Buses will do that."
Stuart Cohen, executive director of Oakland-based nonprofit TransForm:
"It's going to be a big problem for the transit riders who either have to deal with that inconvenience or spend money for a new vehicle or take the car they already have. And it's going to be just as big a headache for people who are already driving."
"[The proposal] will likely reduce revenues and everyone agrees that the last thing we need to do right now is reduce revenues," said Stuart Cohen, Executive Director of TransForm, a non-profit supporting transit and smart growth. "We’re seeing service cuts and fare hikes that are larger than we’ve ever seen. Many agencies have already depleted their reserves dealing with cuts over the past two years. I don’t think these agencies can take another year of it."
Smart Growth America coalition member TransForm has developed a certification program called GreenTRIP to encourage building the kinds of places we need to reduce our carbon emissions.
"We are disappointed with the package, but understand that it represents the best package that legislators were able to develop given the state budget crisis. Together, the bills strip public transportation of potentially billions of dollars of funding that advocates have been fighting to protect, and replace them with limited funding that remains vulnerable to raids. This proposal will result in an annual budget battle to ensure that the funding dedicated to public transit actually gets allocated to our buses, trains, and ferries."
The Ohlone, an 800-unit housing development proposed for 8.25 acres along West San Carlos and Sunol streets in San Jose, is the first Bay Area project to be officially certified for reducing traffic.
The environmental movement in construction has convinced developers of the importance of earning certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. TransForm, based in Oakland, wants to do the same thing with cars.
“How people get to and from their new homes is just as important as what those homes are made of,” Cheng said.
He said, "This makes the Bay Area the first region in the country to have a program to cut global warming pollution by trying to decrease demand on the roadways."
Cohen said that's important because "transportation is by far the biggest source of global warming pollution in California and the country."
Critics acknowledged that the project was likely to be approved but criticized BART for not providing sufficient information about the project, not updating ridership figures and not giving due consideration to alternatives, including a less-costly rapid bus service. BART estimates that 4,350 passengers a day will ride the people mover - an estimate it updated earlier this year.
John Knox White of TransForm, a transit advocacy group, called on BART to delay the decision and take a harder look at the project.
"You need to have the information before you can vote," he said.