Antioch Should Have Gotten BART (not eBART) years ago

The Antioch City Council has been debating about how strongly they should object to the planned barebones station BART wants the city to accept (no agent, restrooms or escalator), having been warned by Susan Miller, Project Manager for the widening of Highway 4, that objections can add to the delay.

Heck, what’s another few years. Antioch should have gotten BART (not eBART) years ago when a BART train was planted at Hillcrest Avenue back in 1962 to entice East County voters to approve a BART bond to cover the cost of the original system, which was on a ballot measure. We‘ve also been paying a half-cent sales tax (the majority going to BART) and an assessment for earthquake retrofitting.

However, in the past decade BART’s been more interested in expanding to San Jose (just got a grant of $130 million from the Federal Transit Administration to do so) and the San Francisco International airport – the latter plan stalling when their request for $70 million in stimulus funds didn’t come through, the feds stating that BART hadn’t adequately analyzed the impact on minorities and low-income people.

In the interim, BART’s plan to run the diesel train along the Mococo line didn‘t prove feasible and the cost of bringing eBART to Antioch escalated. (BART has a history of understating revenues, overstating expenses and an inability to come up with accurate cost projections.)

Additionally, we’re saddled with a mandate from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which controls state and federal funding for system expansion, requiring construction of high-density multi-use projects adjacent to transit stops. Antioch’s Tom Torlakson jumped aboard the “smart growth“ train back in 2005 when he authored SB531 promoting multiuse “transit villages” and also provided builders a new source of public funding by extending the state’s redevelopment powers to land near transit stations.

Both were unabashed efforts to push folks out of cars and to boost ridership. Ironically, A survey taken in 2004 at the Walnut Creek/Pleasant Hill transit village showed only 14% of area residents/employees using public transit.

One Comment to “Antioch Should Have Gotten BART (not eBART) years ago”

  1. Gina Forsyth says:

    I reside near the Pleasant Hill BART station, but I still need to drive there when I want to ride BART.

    I usually use BART for trips to San Francisco or Berkeley, but only when I intend to visit someplace within walking distance of a BART station. Otherwise, I elect to drive in order to save time and hassle.

    I wish BART went everywhere I want to go, but it doesn’t. I don’t think BART has 100% ridership in the cities where they have put stations.

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