Thursday, May 24, 2007

FBRT Helps Stop Governor's Transit Cutbacks

From CALPIRG Advocate Emily Rusch:

Yesterday, the Senate Budget Subcommittee that handles transportation (Senator Machado, Senator Kehoe, and Senator Dutton) voted to flat out reject the Governor's $1.3 billion in proposed cuts to public transit agencies on a 2-1 vote. The vote is a huge victory for public transit and we applaud Senator Machado and Senator Kehoe for recognizing the important role of public transit to ease traffic congestion and meet our commitments to reduce global warming pollution.

Thanks go to the Sierra Club, Public Advocate, Friends of BRT, BayRail Alliance, and Ridership for the Masses in Sacramento for joining CALPIRG, TALC, and of course the Transit Association and a few of their members in testifying against the cuts.

Emily Rusch
California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG)
369 Broadway, Suite 200
San Francisco, CA 9413

Friday, May 18, 2007

Public Hearings for East Bay BRT Project Set

AC Transit has scheduled public hearings for the East Bay BRT Project.

All public hearings will include an open house, at which time attendees will be able to review exhibits of the different alternatives for the BRT and talk with AC Transit and project staff. Immediately following, there will be a brief presentation and an opportunity for public comment.

Alternatives for consideration may include modification to BRT routes, station locations, and station amenities. The final environmental document will respond to all public comments submitted, and will help select the best alternative for the proposed East Bay BRT Project.

Each hearing will begin at 5:30 pm with the open house session. The presentation and testimony for the hearing will begin at 7:00pm.

1. June 7 MTC MetroCenter Auditorium, Metropolitan Transportation Center (MTC) 101 Eighth St., Oakland

2. June 12 San Leandro Community Library Lecture Hall, 300 Estudillo Avenue (between East 14th Street and Bancroft Avenue) San Leandro, CA 94577

3. June 13 Fruitvale / San Antonio Senior Center Fruitvale Transit Village, 3301 East 12th Street, Suite 201 (Opposite Fruitvale Public Market), Oakland, California 94601

4. June 14 North Berkeley Senior Center 1901 Hearst Avenue (at Martin Luther King, Jr. Way) Berkeley, California 94709

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Call For More Federal Funding For BRT

Rail projects are favored over bus rapid transit projects when it comes to federal funding. But many say the bus systems are cheaper and more effective overall.

"New showcase bus rapid transit systems in Los Angeles; Adelaide, Australia; Bogota, Colombia and other cities have been received enthusiastically by commuters."

"But in Washington, BRT proponents say they are being out-lobbied."

"In a report to Congress in February, the Federal Transit Administration said it planned to issue grants worth $18.2 billion to help build rail projects during fiscal 2008, and about $1.4 billion for BRT projects."

"In addition to the local preference for rail systems, the federal transit agency is hamstrung by congressional earmarks in its budget."

"In a recent transportation spending authorization, Congress wrote in more than 6,000 earmarks, mandating federal support for everything from safety gates at remote rail crossings to elaborate ferry docks and other transportation infrastructure."

"Among rapid transit systems, the congressional earmarks overwhelmingly favored rail, although there were also BRT earmarks, including a $100 million authorization for a system in Birmingham, Ala."

Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 13, 2007