Bay Area Transit Planners Try to Reconnect With Underserved Communities


The BART system map. A recent expansion lost federal funding because it failed to serve local communities.

(San Francisco - Nathanael Johnson, KALW News) -- Earlier this year, the Federal Transit Administration determined that the way BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit in California) was doing business did not comply with the Civil Rights Act. The main problem? Basically BART was planning expensive projects without asking the low-income people (over whose neighborhoods the trains would pass) what they wanted. Because of those violations, BART lost $70 million that the federal government had set aside for a proposed line to the Oakland Airport.

Now, BART is trying to come into compliance with the law. To do that, it held 18 meetings around the Bay Area, making an effort to listen to people BART doesn't usually hear from: low-income, minority, and non-English speaking riders. The idea is to develop a better public participation plan. If the FTA likes this plan it BART will be on its way to repairing relations with the federal government.