Today Earthjustice, Communities for a Better Environment, and the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit challenging the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments’ most recent regional transportation plan in Alameda County Superior Court.
Plan Bay Area is supposed to serve as a multi-decade regional plan to improve the reliability, accessibility, and affordability of public transportation in the Bay Area and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while overseeing smart growth to meet the demands of the area’s growing population.
The Plan falls short of these goals. The Plan does not spend enough on public transportation, and instead invests in building new highways. The current Plan will result in more time on the roads and increased greenhouse gas emissions. The Plan also fails to protect West Oakland and other vulnerable communities from the health effects of cars, trucks, ships and rail that pass through their communities. The Plan will also displace low-income and residents of color from their communities.
The lawsuit challenges the environmental review of the agencies’ Plan Bay Area under the California Environmental Quality Act.
Irene Gutierrez, Earthjustice associate attorney: “The people of the Bay Area take pride in living in one of the most diverse, culturally and economically vibrant metropolitan areas in the world. We demand smart planning for growth—the kind that improves our quality of life, makes life easier and less expensive for residents all over the Bay Area, and allows our communities to thrive and grow. This requires responsible planning that reduces climate change pollution, plans for smart public transit growth, avoids toxic zones, and dirty and harmful air quality. Plan Bay Area does not achieve those goals. The people of the Bay Area deserve a much better plan.”
Nile Malloy, Communities for a Better Environment, Northern California Program Director: “By failing to plan for the inevitable boom of freight movement in our area, the plan creates a nightmare of toxic air quality for the communities closest to our highways, ports and shipping hubs. We can’t accept this.”
Matt Williams, Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter, Executive Committee Member: “Climate disruption is a threat to Bay Area families, yet our planning agencies have failed to reduce reliance on cars and trucks, the number one source of climate-disrupting air pollution in California. We need a Plan Bay Area that expands public transportation and creates more affordable housing near these transit systems. Bay Area planners should make getting around town easier, cleaner, and more affordable.”
Monday’s legal challenge cites the following problems with Plan Bay Area: