Transportation Justice Program
On Wednesday, July 27, the 6 Wins Network participated in the sixth Metropolitan Transportation Commission/Association of Bay Area Governments meeting in the past two months. It has been an action-packed period of not only attending meetings, but also strategizing, recruiting other allies, calling and emailing elected officials, drafting letters, and meeting with staff.
Please Join us! Thursday July 14th at 6:30pm at First Congregational Church in Oakland (2501 Harrison Street) for what will hopefully be the largest transportation justice event ever in the East Bay.
Put on by our close allies at Genesis, this town hall will bring hundreds of families, bus riders and youth together to call on our elected officials to make AC Transit free for students and demand equal funding for our bus systems, so we can restore cuts to service.
Specifically we demand that Alameda County spends a portion of its $10 billion in transportation dollars to:
* Provide every Middle and High School Student in Alameda County with a free bus pass (to get to school and afterschool activities)
* Secure more funding for AC Transit so it doesn't have to cut more service and so it can restore the 15% of service it cut last year
Urban Habitat staff members Adrienne Heim and Will Dominie spent Thursday, July 7, with youth from Californians for Justice (CFJ) riding transit, talking to passengers, and organizing bus riders in order to educate ourselves about (and work toward) transportation justice in the Bay Area. We spent the first part of the training learning about how Bay Area neighborhoods and transportation options have been shaped through history, which communities have benefited from this history and which have been burdened. We rode the BART out to Orinda, speaking with BART riders about where they live and how they travel. At the Orinda Station, we constructed a timeline of Bay Area transportation and land use decisions.
As we stepped onto different types of transit through the day, we played “Guess the Subsidy”, where participants guessed how much each is supported by the government. The message stuck. As once person put it, ““I learned that public transportation gets subsidized… It gets subsidized unequally.”
Back in Oakland, we rode the AC Transit # 1 downtown, speaking with bus riders about how service cuts and fare hikes have impacted their lives. One person we interviewed described his reliance on the bus system, “I just don’t know what I would do without it,” he said, “I couldn’t get around."After learning about the devastating impacts of bus cuts, and the ways in which racism has shaped Bay Area transportation, it was easy to get demoralized by the lack of justice in transportation. But we ended on a positive note, building the power of our communities to ensure that the transportation system serves our all of our needs. In addition to interviewing bus riders, CFJ members honed their organizing skills by recruiting bus riders to come to the Genesis Town Hall Meeting on July 14th and join the fight for free youth bus passes and against the service cuts.
On July 14, UH and CFJ will come together again to demand that decision makers support a transportation system that serves everyone’s needs. We hope you will join us.
LOS ANGELES — The women shuffle back and forth as they wait just after 7 a.m. for the orange bus crawling down the street. It will be more than an hour before they arrive at work, and soon the same journey may stretch to nearly two hours.
Though the roads in Los Angeles routinely jam with honking cars in the morning, there is also an almost invisible commuter class — the millions of people, most of them poor, who depend on the sprawling bus system.
Local officials push public transportation as the path to an environmentally friendly future, with plans for a subway to the sea and miles of other rail projects in the region. But at the same time, the financially struggling Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is cutting back dozens of bus lines and shortening routes to save money that they say would be better spent elsewhere.
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MTC Told To Make Good on “One Bay Area” Community: Civil Rights Groups Press Commission To Put Equity on Its Agenda
For Immediate Release
June 24, 2011
Civil Rights Groups Press Commission To Put Equity on Its Agenda
After close to three hours of lively and sometimes rancorous debate at their June 22 joint meeting, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) opened the door to advancing social equity in their long-term planning projects.
Under the banner of “One Bay Area,” MTC and ABAG have launched their work to plan how the Bay Area will grow in the next generation. This planning process will implement SB 375, the important companion legislation to AB 32, California’s landmark climate law.
SB 375 requires MTC to partner with ABAG to come up with a “Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS)” to reduce driving and greenhouse gas emissions in the region by supporting transit service that links jobs and affordable housing. The SCS will be included in MTC’s Regional Transportation Plan that distributes more than $200 billion in state and federal funds.
Los Angeles transportation officials have unveiled the largest budget in the Metropolitan Transit Authority's history, a $4.2-billion plan that reflects the agency's heavy investment in rail projects around the region.
The budget includes money for a slew of rail lines, including the Crenshaw Line in South L.A. that should begin construction next year. The budget has operating funds for the Expo Line, which should open later this year.
There is also money for developing several more rail lines including the so-called "Subway to the Sea" and the "Regional Connector," which would link several existing rail lines through downtown L.A.
“Metro will be advancing one of the largest public works programs in the nation’s history in [fiscal year] 2012, with a dozen major transit and 15 highway projects in various stages of development,” Metro Chief Executive Art Leahy said in a statement.
BART has already spent $64 million on the controversial Oakland Airport connector. But Robert Raburn, a member of the BART Board of Directors, thinks he can derail the roughly $500 million project, which he’s nicknamed the “gold-plated” connector, before any more money is spent.
The tram is slated to run from the Coliseum BART station to Oakland International Airport and replace the shuttle bus that currently runs a similar route. It’s been called a “boondoggle” by critics; the feds yanked $70 million from the project last year over civil rights concerns. Others say the connector would be a boon to Oakland, bringing jobs and an easier way to get to the airport.
The BART board approved the connector last July — and a celebratory ground-breaking was held in October. But two of the project’s biggest champions have since left the transit agency.
The financially struggling AC Transit offers one of the best public transit bargains in America for riders 18 and younger: $15 per month for a youth pass good for unlimited local bus rides.
The deal may not last much longer, though. Bus system administrators have proposed increasing the pass price to $20 per month in August as the first step toward tripling the charge to $45 per month over eight years.
The proposal -- to be aired in a fare increase public hearing 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday in Oakland -- has sparked debate over the district's competing goals. District officials say they want to offer a break to students, but also face pressure to act more frugally in hard financial times that forced the district to cut service twice last year.
The State Senate came up with an $8.6 million bailout for Long Island Bus. That will allow the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the system, to put off cuts on more than half of the system’s 48 routes. At least 16,000 riders would have lost service, and 200 disabled riders would have lost their paratransit service. All bets are off in January because the system still faces a financing shortfall that Mr. Mangano doesn’t want to fill.