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Bay Area Region

Fed Funds to Bolster Bay Area Transit

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:08pm
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Bay Area transit agencies are about to get tens of millions of dollars more to maintain and replace their aging fleets of vehicles, the federal Department of Transportation announced today.

The grants, part of a $776 million outlay to 152 projects nationwide, announced in a national conference call by Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Federal Transit Agency head Peter Rogoff.

"This means that transit providers can finally make many of the repairs they have been putting off," LaHood said.

EPA's "environmental justice" tour comes to California

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 10/20/2010 - 10:57am
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Environmental justice, a movement to focus attention on pollution in low-income communities, is a burning cause for Lisa Jackson, the first African American to head the U.S. Environmental Protection agency.  Over the last several months, Jackson has toured poor white, black and Latino communities with a message: Eco-issues aren't just for rich folks.

On Saturday, the EPA chief took a bus tour of low-income neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay area, stopping at a Superfund site where the federal government is coordinating toxic chemical cleanup, and an urban food cooperative.

Pleasanton to host green living fair

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 10/13/2010 - 12:05pm
PLEASANTON -- In its bid to become the greenest city in the state, Pleasanton will host a Green Scene Fair for local employees and residents from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21 at the CarrAmerica Conference Center, 4400 Rosewood Dr.

The fair will feature 75 vendors that specialize in green practices, including air, water, waste, commuting and transportation, healthy homes and healthy living and energy. Fuel efficient vehicles will also be on display and sustainably produced food will be sold.

The event is part of a series of activities the city has planned as part of its climate action plan it will adopt as part of a settlement it reached with Urban Habitat. The environmental justice group sued the city and won over its voter-approved housing cap of 29,000 units, saying it prevented the city from meeting is share of regional housing needs.

For more information visit www.pleasantongreenscene.org.

Robert Jordan covers Dublin and Pleasanton. Contact him at 925-847-2184.

Applications for Pleasanton's housing task force due Friday

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 10/13/2010 - 12:02pm

PLEASANTON -- Applications for five at-large seats on the city's housing element task force are due to the city clerk's office at 4 p.m. Friday.

Applicants must be Pleasanton residents and have an interest in housing needs of the community and must be able to attend at least one or two meetings per month for at least a year.

Task force members will help the city develop its housing update for the city's general plan as part as a settlement with Urban Habitat. The environmental justice group sued the city and won over its voter-approved housing cap of 29,000 units, saying it prevented the city from meeting is share of regional housing needs.

Applications are available at the city clerk's office, 123 Main St. in Pleasanton, or can be downloaded at www.ci.pleasanton.ca.us/pdf/newcommapp.pdf. For more information contact Janice Stern at 925-931-5606 or jstern@ci.pleasanton.ca.us.

BART Board Reaffirms Commitment to Build Airport Connector

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 10/13/2010 - 11:33am
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OAK_rendering1At a hastily scheduled board meeting today, BART’s directors once again voted to approve the Oakland Airport Connector (OAC), this time granting General Manager Dorothy Dugger the flexibility to proceed with the contract, despite several outstanding sources of funding still unresolved.

BART needed to send strong signals to the contracting team of Parsons/Flatiron that the agency intended to move forward with the construction bid, which is set to expire on September 21st, one year after it was initially awarded. BART has been scrambling to fill a funding gap created when the Federal Transit Administration denied the agency $70 million in federal stimulus funds because it hadn’t done a proper civil rights review.

Federal Civil Rights Review Raises Governance Questions at MTC

Submitted by News Desk on Tue, 08/24/2010 - 3:50pm
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The long-term impacts to transportation funding as a result of the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) civil rights compliance probe of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) won't be clear for some time, but the action by the federal administration has transportation policy circles buzzing. Experts in civil rights and regional planning policy couldn't point to another instance of a metropolitan planning organization (MPO) like the MTC being required to submit to similar scrutiny from the FTA, while social justice advocates felt vindicated for their longstanding contention of discrimination in transportation funding. The FTA probe stemmed from a complaint by Public Advocates, a civil rights law firm in San Francisco, over BART's failure to properly analyze the equity impacts of its fare policy for the controversial Oakland Airport Connector (OAC) as required under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. As a result of the complaint, the FTA denied BART $70 million in federal stimulus funds for the project. Because the MTC channels significant federal funds to BART and because it continually approved motions to send stimulus funds to an agency that ultimately failed its responsibility to comply with Title VI, the FTA turned its eye on MTC.

MTC Public Participation Plan Comment Letter

Submitted by News Desk on Tue, 08/24/2010 - 2:25pm

The Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission's (MTC) draft Public Participation Plan will set the framework for major decisions that it will make over the next three years in planning for over $200 billion in transportation investments.  MTC is required by SB 375 to implement a Sustainable Communities Strategy, or SCS, that will integrate transportation and land-use planning in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change.

The Public Participation Plan will shape how well the SB 375 process will address the needs of the region's low-income communities and communities of color - communities at greatest risk from the impacts of climate change.  A just and equitable Public Participation Plan that actively empowers low-income communities of color in these important decisions would be an important step in moving the Bay Area toward greater inclusion.

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