No One Noticed, but Fresno Killed its Proposed BRT System

Nashville, and the ludicrous attempts to ban bus rapid transit (BRT) there by state legislators, has been getting all the news lately, but it’s not the only BRT system to see its future flushed down the toilet by short-sighted elected officials.

After two months of “retooling,”  the Fresno BRT project returned to the City Council a few weeks ago; problem is, there was no BRT left to approve.

Back in January, the Fresno city council put a temporary hold on the $50 million BRT plan which had been in the works since 2008. Even though the process had gone through dozens of public workshops, council presentations, and other forms of outreach, the council acted as if this was the first time they’d heard about it. I wrote about their “concerns”  here.

Was money the problem? It shouldn’t have been. The feds, the state, and dedicated air quality funds were to pay for absolutely everything through a series of grants, including three years of operating costs. Getting someone to pay your transit operating costs is practically unheard of, and yet the Fresno Council decided to kick that golden egg in the face. The feds had already committed to $38 million in “small-starts” grants.