Bay Area Region

Billionaires for Wealthcare Counter-Protest Healthcare Demo and Defend Blue Cross

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 02/26/2010 - 4:24pm

While Americans express anger at predatory insurance practices, Billionaires for Wealthcare say: "Let them eat Advil". As the Senate prepares for a huge vote on health care legislation, on February 25th residents from San Francisco and surrounding areas gathered at Blue Cross offices at 2 Embarcadero Center to highlight the need for robust reform. These demonstrators came face-to-face with Billionaire defenders of Blue Cross' right to do whatever they damn well please.

Members of Billionares for Wealthcare demanded honor and respect for the personhood of Blue Cross, and took the opportunity to announce the ticket of Blue Cross/Palin for 2012.

Battered BART working on its image

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 02/26/2010 - 4:00pm
Muni and other Bay Area transit agencies aren't reveling in the Federal Transit Administration's rejection of $70 in stimulus funding for BART's Oakland Airport Connector project, but it's good news for the 19 struggling districts that get to split up the funds.


MTC Pledges $10 Million for New Affordable Housing Fund

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 02/26/2010 - 11:05am
OAKLAND, Calif.-- It makes good sense to place compact, affordable housing at transit hubs, and now the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is giving a substantial financial boost to the cause. MTC today approved a commitment of up to $10 million through its Transportation for Livable Communities program to help establish a new revolving loan fund to finance land acquisition for affordable housing development in select locations near rail and bus lines throughout the Bay Area.

Obama Administration Denies BART $70M in Stimulus Funds Citing Civil Rights Failures

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 02/19/2010 - 4:16pm

February 12, 2010

Obama Administration Denies BART $70M in Stimulus Funds, Citing Civil Rights Failures Funds Shift to Bay Area Transit Operations

Federal Transit Administration Chief Peter Rogoff today [February 12]  sent a letter to BART and MTC rejecting BART’s corrective action plan to address Title VI violations found in an investigation prompted by a complaint from civil rights, transportation and environmental advocates. Due to action taken by MTC at its January meeting, the funding will now be reallocated to transit projects across the Bay Area, where it is desperately needed to preserve jobs and transit service.

In the first action of its kind, the Obama Administration has pulled $70 million in federal stimulus funds from a proposed Oakland Airport Connector (OAC) project due to multiple civil rights violations by the Bay Area Rapid Transit district (BART). The strong action underscores a recent promise made in the President’s State of the Union address to continue “prosecuting civil rights violations.”

A paper trail to BART

Submitted by News Desk on Thu, 02/18/2010 - 11:32am

How the deal fell through: An annotated guide to the Oakland Airport connectorAir BART


November 2000 – Alameda County voters approve a sales tax for a list of possible transportation improvements. A new link from the Coliseum BART station to the Oakland International Airport is included in this list. TransForm and other nonprofits begin working with BART on the project.


July 2001 – BART completes a draft of the Environmental Impact Statement on a new link from the Coliseum BART station to the Oakland International Airport. BART Proposes a train which would cost $200 million to build, and then $7.3 million annually to operate (by 2020). For comparison, the existing bus service would cost around $2 million to operate annually.


March 2002 – BART completes the final Environmental Impact Report. It finds that a train on it’s own dedicated track is the preferred option. The BART board votes to build it.

FTA Kills Plan to Use Stimulus Funds for Oakland Airport Connector

Submitted by News Desk on Thu, 02/18/2010 - 11:09am

$70 million will be redistributed for operating funds at cash-strapped local agencies; fate of $422 million more also committed to the project is unclear.

One clear outcome of the distribution of stimulus funds to transit agencies across the country was a marked preference for using the money to increase capital spending, rather than a ramp up of operations. Even as cities from New York to Denver have invested hundreds of millions of federal dollars in renovations and new line construction, they have cut spending on existing services. This has led to a peculiar situation in which transit agencies seem to be willing to trade bus drivers for construction workers.


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