Fresno City Council will vote today on whether to accept and move forward with the $50 million Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT) that will put faster, more reliable public transportation along Blackstone and Ventura avenues. It’s not light rail. It’s not even a full (or partial) overhaul of the current FAX system.
But it’s something and it’s sorely needed.
It’s laughable that there should be any question on how this vote will go, but here we are.
There have been a number of well-reasoned explanations why the council should allow the project to proceed, the least of which is the loss of grant funds (that $50 million) that have been designated specifically for BRT (not to be used for any other projects).
If there’s been a logical argument against BRT, it hasn’t come from any of the people pushing the council to vote “No.” As The Bee rightly pointed out, this seems to be more about throwing a wrench into the city’s 2035 general plan, than any arguing of the merits of the system.
Disregarding the general plan (which seeks to move the city toward more urban, high-density living), Fresno’s public transportation system needs improvement. Even those opposed to BRT say as much. Yet, here is a well-defined (and funded) opportunity to start that process, to show what could be possible.
And we’re arguing over whether to let it happen!
If you want to know why Fresno has a problem with brain drain, why it’s shocking when the city gets listed as someplace people (especially young people) might want to actually live, it’s this kind of backwards defensive of the status quo.
It is easier to just complain about the problem, I suppose, than to actually sit down and figure out a fix. Except, in this case. Here it is easier to just get out of the way and vote “yes.”
Let’s hope that’s what we get.