So, this is sort of a math problem: Take a $130 million project; sit it on it and discuss for many years; watch costs rise to about $500 million; receive a $70 million chunk in transportation funds from the federal government; apply for $150 million more in federal transportation loans; figure that you can charge riders $12 round trip on top of their BART fare; decide that in a flagging economy it is better to go into deeper debt and add 13,000 jobs; wait five more years, give or take -- and what do you get? An AirTrain-like solution connecting the Coliseum BART station with Oakland Airport.
Ridership to the Oakland airport is down (possibly because that AirBART bus thing is such a pain in the ass), but BART directors and advocates think the airport is going to continue to grow, which is probably a safe bet. Opponents to this latest decision to move forward with the project say that improved bus service would be cheaper and would allow BART to spend the money improving what they've already built. We're still stuck on the $12 part.