monopoly_money.jpgProposed cuts to federal transportation funding could severely impact Caltrain, BART and other Bay Area transit agencies, officials said today.

The U.S. House of Representatives last week passed a six-month extension of the Surface Transportation Authorization bill, which helps support the operations of major public transportation agencies around the Bay Area and across the country.

A faction in Congress is pressing for a permanent version of the bill that would cut transportation funds by one-third, BART Board President Bob Franklin said.

“We have a choice,” Franklin said in a statement. “A House version of the Surface Transportation Authorization that would cut our funding by 30 percent, or a Senate version – led by California Sen. Barbara Boxer – that would maintain current funding.”

“We urge our riders to support Sen. Boxer’s efforts,” Franklin said.

BART today joined other Bay Area transit agencies in a national day of action to preserve funding, called “Don’t X Out Public Transportation Day.”

BART staff was out in force at stations throughout its service area to hand out postcards expressing support for public transit to be mailed to Sen. Boxer’s office.

Metropolitan Transportation Commission chairwoman Adrienne Tissier, San Mateo County Transit District board of directors member Zoe Kersteen-Tucker and San Mateo County Transportation Authority chairwoman Rosanne Foust were at Caltrain’s San Francisco Station this morning for a news conference to outline what the funding cuts would mean to local agencies.

A 30 percent reduction in funding would force Caltrain to defer replacement of an estimated 30 vehicles over the next three to five years and eventually reduce its number of hourly trains, spokeswoman Christine Dunn said.

SamTrans bus service would also be impacted, Dunn said. SamTrans would have to defer replacement of about 60 buses, increasing wait times and adding an estimated $2 million in maintenance costs for the older vehicles.

Supporters can also send messages of support to Congress through the website www.supporttransit.org.

Chris Cooney, Bay City News

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  • pcvcolin

    Here are the facts. The President of the United States is visiting the Bay Area for two days, his visit is about to begin, and there is no question that during his visit at some point, someone is going to be talking to him about federal funding and BART, which was actually withheld not long after BART suspended cellular service on August 11, 2011. You may speculate if there are political considerations on the federal funding if you wish, but I would bet that there are some. BART federal funding should continue to be withheld until BART agrees, without conditions, that it will not seek to assert any authority to throttle, or alternatively to “suspend,” (cut) cellular service. BART does not possess this authority. With respect to the cellular systems used and deployed by BART to the public, and the kinds of “modifications” for service that BART thinks that it may have a right or privelege to perform independently, these are affairs that even if brought to a court, must be referred to the FCC (and possibly to the CPUC as well) for review and action. Neither BART nor any other agency, nor city or other organization, public or private, has the right or privelege to act with discretion to shut down a network, as this is a violation of the Communications Act of 1934 and the Telecommunications Act of 1996, as primary laws of consideration, amongst others, not to mention that it flies in the face of well-established U.S. Supreme Court case law on the issue. Go to http://globalrevolutionary.blogspot.com/ and scroll down to find more about the public interest FCC petitions and arguments against the #BART actions that suspended cell service on August 11, 2011.

  • pcvcolin

    Here are the facts. The President of the United States is visiting the Bay Area for two days, his visit is about to begin, and there is no question that during his visit at some point, someone is going to be talking to him about federal funding and BART, which was actually withheld not long after BART suspended cellular service on August 11, 2011. You may speculate if there are political considerations on the federal funding if you wish, but I would bet that there are some. BART federal funding should continue to be withheld until BART agrees, without conditions, that it will not seek to assert any authority to throttle, or alternatively to “suspend,” (cut) cellular service. BART does not possess this authority. With respect to the cellular systems used and deployed by BART to the public, and the kinds of “modifications” for service that BART thinks that it may have a right or privelege to perform independently, these are affairs that even if brought to a court, must be referred to the FCC (and possibly to the CPUC as well) for review and action. Neither BART nor any other agency, nor city or other organization, public or private, has the right or privelege to act with discretion to shut down a network, as this is a violation of the Communications Act of 1934 and the Telecommunications Act of 1996, as primary laws of consideration, amongst others, not to mention that it flies in the face of well-established U.S. Supreme Court case law on the issue. Go to http://globalrevolutionary.blogspot.com/ and scroll down to find more about the public interest FCC petitions and arguments against the #BART actions that suspended cell service on August 11, 2011.