Bus Rapid Transit Gets the Go-Ahead
The AC Transit Board of Directors has approved a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) plan that will make for cleaner, more efficient bus service—reducing commute time and traffic—in Oakland and San Leandro.
On April 25, the Board certified the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR), moving the $153-million BRT project a step closer to design, construction, the creation of as many as 300 jobs over a two-year period, and the prompting of other local economic development.
“We are happy to embrace a project that improves bus service, creates employment opportunities and helps to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions,” said AC Transit Board President Elsa Ortiz. “But more than that, this BRT project will add beautiful streetscapes to the neighborhoods as it brings a new level of service reliability for our riders.”
Of all the transit projects in the nation, AC Transit’s BRT plan has the highest overall rating by the Federal Transit Administration. Aside from dramatically improving East Bay public transportation, the BRT project is certain to enhance the local economy, creating construction jobs and other employment indirectly related to the building effort.
“This is a major milestone,” said AC Transit General Manager David Armijo. “The Board’s vote means that our vision of improved bus service, reduced traffic and lower vehicle emissions along that corridor is a step closer to reality.”
With construction expected to begin in 2014, the system could be fully operational in 2016.
The Final EIR was available for a 45-day review period from February 3 to March 19. Seven public meetings were held to receive input on the project during that time. The FEIR was prepared as part of a joint Final Environmental Impact Statement to satisfy both federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and state California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review requirements.
About Bus Rapid Transit
AC Transit’s vision is to provide a truly world-class transit service that is convenient, reliable and safe–one that increases mobility, enhances the quality of life and improves the health of the environment throughout the communities it serves. The East Bay Bus Rapid Transit project will be a high-capacity system that reduces travel times and features dedicated lanes, signal priority, and prominent stations with convenient boarding. BRT will offer residents and commuters a viable alternative to driving on congested city streets and at the same time will reduce traffic levels and significantly cut emissions and pollutants. Bus Rapid Transit is essentially light rail without the tracks, combining the speed and capacity of light rail with the convenience and affordability of riding the bus. It can be planned and built at much less expense, and more quickly, than traditional light rail systems.
Read more about AC Transit’s BRT project.