“Our systems are more aligned now than ever”
By BART Communications Staff
On Friday, April 21, ten transit CEOs from across the Bay Area gathered for a multimodal, three-hour-long voyage that carried them from the green hills of Orinda to the dry heat of Pittsburg. The “All Aboard with Transit CEOs” event was held in celebration of Earth Day as well as the ongoing coordination and collaboration of local transit agencies in the face of immense financial challenges. Members of the public were invited to join the ride-along to meet and ride with the CEOs.
Following the success of the first “All Aboard” event in September, which carried the CEOs from Oakland to San Francisco and back, the second ride-along saw the travelers ride a bevy of East Bay transit operators, including BART, Tri-Delta Transit, and County Connection. Leaders in attendance included BART General Manager Robert Powers, Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) Executive Director Andy Fremier, Bay Area Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman, Director of Transportation for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Jeffrey Tumlin, SamTrans General Manager/CEO April Chan, County Connection General Manager Bill Churchill, Tri Delta Transit CEO Rashidi Barnes, WestCAT General Manager Robert Thompson, Napa Valley Transportation Authority Executive Director Kate Miller, and Contra Costa Transportation Authority Executive Director Timothy Haile.
The ride-along kicked off with a press conference at BART’s Orinda Station, where regional leaders stressed the importance of securing long-term sustainable funding for public transportation.
“At the heart of any region’s economy is public transit. As goes public transit goes the economy,” said BART General Manager Robert Powers, who noted that regional transportation systems “are more aligned now than ever.”
MTC Executive Director Andy Fremier urged the state legislature to “pass a new budget that supports transit operations … to keep us going so we have a multi-year transit recovery program we can count on.” (Reference this handy Twitter thread to learn more about the distinction between transit agencies’ operating and capital budgets.)
“California cannot meet its climate goals unless we do something about getting people on transit,” Fremier added, acknowledging the Earth Day holiday. “Part of that involves advocating aggressively to keep transit operating.”