OAKLAND — A resolution calling for the city to oppose a rail connector that would shuttle passengers between the Coliseum BART station and the Oakland International Airport is set for an up-or-down vote by the City Council this evening.
The vote — in many ways symbolic because the council does not have authority over the project — is likely to draw dozens of supporters and critics of the BART connector to council chambers at 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza.
Also on the agenda for the 6 p.m. meeting: reconsideration of a proposal to roll back parking-meter enforcement from 8 p.m. to 6 p.m., an idea that fell one vote short Sept. 22.
The BART resolution was first proposed by Councilmember Nancy Nadel (Downtown-West Oakland). Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan (at-large), another leading opponent of the BART connector, said the project has changed dramatically since Alameda County voted for Measure B, a half-cent sales tax for transportation projects in 2000.
"What happened is this project was voter-approved at $130 million and now it's up to $500 million," she said.
Supporting the BART connector is Councilmember Larry Reid (Elmhurst-East Oakland), whose district includes the airport. He hopes his colleagues reject the resolution and said the connector is needed to help keep Oakland competitive with other Bay Area airports.
Opponents would like to see the money that would go toward the project redirected to other transportation needs.
BART is pushing ahead. The transit agency received four bids for the project Sept. 22 and will select one of the groups in December, said project spokeswoman Molly McArthur. She said the connector represents an investment in the city, the region and for the airport — and would create jobs immediately.
On parking, Councilmember Patricia Kernighan (Grand Lake-Chinatown) has joined council President Jane Brunner (North Oakland), Councilmember Jean Quan (Montclair-Laurel) and Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente (Glenview-Fruitvale) in offering a new set of actions to offset the anticipated loss of nearly $1 million if enforcement hours are rolled back from 8 p.m. to 6 p.m.
That package includes relying on $494,250 in revenue from a pending billboard agreement with Clear Channel Outdoor advertising that would allow for the construction of a new billboard on East Bay Municipal Utility District property east of the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza and the removal of 16 billboards in other parts of Oakland.
De La Fuente, who missed the Sept. 22 meeting, supports the parking changes.
"The majority of the people feel it's bad for Oakland, feel it's bad for their businesses," he said. "So let's roll it back and move on."