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AC Transit’s ‘express bus’ project: Gold-plated boondoggle?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Why is AC Transit building an “express bus” line between San Leandro BART station and the 19th Street BART Station in Oakland to cost an eye-popping $178 million? The answer, the Chronicle says in a pay-walled piece today, may be for the construction jobs, even though by the rosiest projections only 40,000 riders a day would use it by 2035 and even local politicians aren’t excited about it. The 9.5-mile route (it comes out to $18.7 million a mile) will run along International Boulevard and gobble up two lanes of traffic and parking. (That’s the depiction of how it’s to look at 99th Avenue and International.) The route was to have been twice as long but Berkeley and San Leandro turned thumbs down. An excerpt:

Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid, whose district includes a large stretch of International, said he was "very reluctant" to support the project, given all the complaints he heard from local businesses.

But in the end, he said, he sided with unions that had backed his effort to build a BART connector to Oakland International Airport and wanted the new bus line because of the construction and other jobs it promised.

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