Tuesday, December 8th, 2009 at 8:31 pm in Uncategorized.
A contract to build BART’s people-mover tram to the Oakland International Airport is scheduled to be awarded Thursday over objections of critics who want an express bus system instead.
It’s a political showdown years in the making.
BART top managers recommend the transit board award a $492 million contract to a joint venture of Flatiron West Inc. and the Parsons Transportation Group. For the BART report on the recommendation, click here.
The meeting begins 10 a.m. at the Kaiser Center 20th Street Mall, third floor, 344 – 20th St,Oakland,
The $492 million price tag is less than BART’s internal estimate of $522 million to build a 3.2-mile-long “people mover” system from the Coliseum train station to just outside the airport terminal, BART officials say
Flatiron and Parsons propose building a cable car system on an elevated guideway over city streets. Two giant cables powered by electrical motors would pull the cars manufactured by Dopplemayr Cable Car with rubber wheels.
BART contends the people mover system will provide a long-overdue link in regional transportation to carry train customers all the way to the airport. Passengers would exit a regular BART train at the Coliseum station and walk across a platform to board the people-mover cars.
But critics call the project a flashy high-tech boondoggle that will move passengers no better and at 10 times the cost than if BART upgraded its current AirBART shuttle buses to express buses.
Leading the charge against the people-mover plan is the Oakland-based group Transform, a nonprofit public trans advocate.
“TransForm is requesting that the BART Board ask for more time to make a decision so that key elements of this proposal can be analyzed and understood before moving forward with this hugely expensive project,” said John Knox White of Transform.
For Transform’s critique of the project, click here.
BART spokesman Linton Johnson said the airport connector has been studied extensively, and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, city of Oakland and Alameda County have agreed to help fund the project.
The federal government is chipping in $70 million in economic stimulus funds toward the project.
Johnson said construction is expected to start next year and take some four or five years to complete.
BART planners have suggested the one-way fare for the people mover would be $6 – an estimate fanning critics’ assertion that the project benefits the affluent. Johnson said the fare won’t be set until close to the time the project is ready to start operating.
BART already has a train station near the San Francisco International Airport where train passengers can exit a BART train and board a people mover system carrying them directly into the airport terminal.