Bay Area Region
New America Media
Is BART the most racist transit agency in the nation?
That’s a question Bay Area residents should be asking after the U.S. Justice Department announced Friday that it was opening an investigation into the transit agency’s handling of BART police officer Johannes Mehserle’s fatal shooting of Oscar Grant. The investigation, which the Justice Department confirms is being launched together with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco. But it is not the first effort by the Obama administration to rein in BART over civil rights.
Undaunted after losing millions of dollars in funding, BART is cobbling together a backup funding plan to build a link to Oakland’s airport.
BART staffers said they may be able to raise $70 million by tapping federal programs, additional county sales tax funds, more Port of Oakland contributions and more money from bridge tolls.
That would replace the $70 million yanked last February after federal transportation officials said BART failed to submit an adequate study of whether the airport connector project discriminated against poor residents.
BART staffers will present the backup funding plan to the BART board as early as July 22. Download attachment below.
In 2006, things were looking good for Lennar, America's second-biggest homebuilder. That year, before the U.S. housing market's epic collapse, the Miami-based giant pulled down $15.6 billion in revenues and closed sales on 29,568 homes. The ink was just drying on a massive and potentially lucrative deal to transform Treasure Island with new housing complexes, and the well-connected Lennar already had secured a deal to develop the Hunters Point Shipyard that the Navy was turning over to San Francisco.
Even though BART is not in compliance with the Federal Transportation
Administration's (FTA) Title VI civil rights regulations, the agency has
sought funding from numerous local, regional, state and federal outlets
to continue the Oakland Airport Connector (OAC) project, a three-mile
elevated tramway that would connect the Oakland Airport with the Oakland
Internal documents obtained by Streetsblog and The Bay Citizen, which reported on the matter this morning) revealed an internal scramble by BART staff and an array of local and state transportation agencies to come up with money to replace the $70 million in stimulus funding the FTA denied BART because of its failure to demonstrate a suitable fare analysis for the OAC project.
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.
Will BART’s Public Meetings be a Facelift or Create Real Change?
From the murder of Oscar Grant to fare hikes and the fight over the Oakland Airport Connector, BART has been in the news A LOT this past year. These events have crystallized something that many of us have known for awhile – That BART has been consistently indifferent to the lives, rights and needs of our community.
A project isn't "shovel-ready" until it is fair. Agencies receiving federal funds are legally obligated to ensure that low-income and diverse communities share fairly in the benefits of that funding. To do so requires analysis and community involvement. BART failed to live up to these responsibilities.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 15, 2010
CONTACT: Wynn Hausser, 415-431-7430 x304
Court Strikes Down Pleasanton Housing Cap, Orders Rezoning For Housing Near Jobs, Transit
Pleasanton, CA — In a major affordable housing victory, Alameda Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch has ruled that the City of Pleasanton’s Housing Cap violates state law. In the first ruling of its kind, the court also ordered the city to complete re-zoning that is required by state law so that it can meet its share of the region’s affordable housing.