As a follow-up to the article we posted on the GreenTrip certification of the Ohlone project in San Jose, GreenTrip just listed a few more certified projects.
Juliet Ellis of Urban Habitat and Mahasin Abdul-Salaam of Genesis represent, along with Public Advocates Inc. and TransForm, the organizations that brought the civil rights complaint.
John Knox White, program director for TransForm, a transit advocacy group, says BART's call for a series of public meetings is a result of complaints filed by his group and others.
"It definitely seems to be an indication that our complaint has caused BART to realize that they need to start looking at how to get public input into these large massive projects," he said.
TransForm’s Chris Lepe – the community planner for San Jose – says, if people aren’t involved, the projects are less likely to help them – and they'll simply oppose those projects.
John Knox White of TransForm, a consistent critic of the OAC project, said TransForm and its allies would continue to push for BART to complete more rigorous analysis of the project's equity impacts. He also said BART's response demonstrates an inability to understand the issue at hand.
"Nobody is arguing that there weren't public meetings on the OAC, the issue is that these meetings did not present accurate or credible information," said White. "BART's staff refused to present information requested by MTC Commissioners, the ACTIA Board, Port of Oakland Commissioners, the Oakland City Council, and members of their own Board, as well as Bay Area residents and community organizations."
"BART has already attempted a slapdash analysis of this project and it has been rejected by the FTA. It is not be credible to have BART staff rehire the same OAC consultants who were paid thousands of dollars to 'debunk' TransForm’s RapidBART proposal and the community," said White, referring to a May 2009 email from Tom Dunscombe, OAC Project Manager at BART, to several consultants on the project.
The federal government has good reason to doubt a rail project that costs so much to serve affluent airline passengers, said Stuart Cohen, executive director of TransForm, an Oakland-based transportation advocacy group.
"BART has stonewalled the community," Cohen said, "and failed to consider cheaper alternatives that would better serve the community."
TransForm, Public Advocates and Urban Habitat all assert that BART could provide a much cheaper and just as fast service to the airport if it upgraded its current shuttle bus service rather than building the elevated rail extension.
With the savings, Cohen asserted, BART could make the shuttle bus free, a bargain compared with the $6 one-way trip BART has suggested it would need to charge for the system to break even.
"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."