The BART Oakland Airport Connector

The BART Oakland Airport

06/22/09 Filed in:

TRANSDEF’s statement to the BART Board of Directors
on Thursday May 12:

I’m David Schonbrunn, President of TRANSDEF, a Bay
Area environmental non-profit focused on regional
transportation, and BART extensions in particular.
This is a historic decision that will tell the world
what your Board is really all about. The start is not
promising, in that one of your employees is
organizing a campaign for this project while on the
job, using a email address. We believe this
is certainly unethical and likely to be illegal.

Today’s hearing is a microcosm of BART’s central
problem: The “jobs now!” contingent has an entirely
understandable point of view. The problem is that the
projects they come out to support have not been
developed with an eye to reasonable benefits in
relation to the costs involved. For that, we have to
blame the political leaders that have put these
ill-conceived projects on the public agenda, and kept
supporting them even when costs became unreasonable.

In the opinion of TRANSDEF, your agency’s biggest
failing is its extreme indifference to project cost.
You have fostered a culture of pork. This has
resulted in a huge unfunded capital replacement
program, and high transit fares. The OAC is a poster
child for out-of-control projects, whose costs have
exploded far beyond what can reasonably be charged
for a fare. A $6 one-way fare for a 10 minute ride
will severely depress ridership.

This project is such a dog that you can’t come up
with a public-private partnership. TRANSDEF strongly
urges you to dedicate further indebtedness for your
car replacement program, and not squander it on this
boondoggle. We urge a No vote.

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