Building the Case For Transit as a Civil Right
Monday, April 26, 2010 - 08:32 AM
(Collin Campbell, Transportation Nation, April 26) We're following the changes in how public transit projects are planned and funded under the Obama Administration's DOT, which has made it quite clear that it wants to see new lines and routes serve wide groups of riders, especially those traditionally underserved. Nathanael Johnson of KALW News has been following BART's efforts in San Francisco to reconnect with the community, after its plans failed to meet new criteria and lost $70 million.
Guillermo Mayer is the lawyer who fought BART and found himself backed by a new White House. He won, and is now looking at ways the new Transportation Reauthorization in Congress can be used to fund this kind of civil rights argument for transit. "This breathes life back into Title VI Civil Rights enforcement," Mayer said. "We didn’t win much under Bush."
Today on The Takeaway, Mayer said "at this time we're pretty much seeing transit service in the Bay Area get decimated. The buses are running with much longer headways. They're much more expensive to ride now. Transit drivers are being laid off." And so why should agencies be building expensive new ways for well-off riders to get to the airport?