Tuesday, June 15, 2010

BART spending $800K to define three words

Sometimes you have to just shake your head and wonder who is running the funny farm. The cause, government regulations. The effect, California is almost bankrupt and Obama and Congress will most likely bail the state out.

A 3 year old could spend the taxpayers money more wisely.

(For the record, if you're wondering what BART does consider the definition of a major service change - tentatively, it's any change in routes that affects 25 percent of its service.)

Believe it or not, BART is spending $800,000 to come up with a definition of just what constitutes a "major service change."

Most of us would simply reach for a dictionary, but BART has to make the feds happy, and that means a three-month process that includes:

-- Holding 35 community meetings.

-- Hiring a small army of translators to staff the meetings.

-- Bringing in a crew of six-figure consultants to manage the meetings and issue the obligatory report.

"We're just trying to cover all our bases," said BART spokesman Linton Johnson.

It all started a few months back when the Federal Transit Administration nixed $70 million in stimulus money that would have helped BART build a people-mover line from the Coliseum Station to Oakland International Airport.

The feds said BART hadn't considered what impact possible higher fares and a "major service change" would have on low-income, minority and limited-English-speaking riders.

The oversight amounted to a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and could jeopardize more than $100 million in future funding for the airport line, plus other projects.

Stunned BART officials decided then and there to follow the feds' guidelines to the letter - and the first stop was to make sure they knew the exact definition of "major service change."
Read San Francisco Chronicle article here.

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