OAKLAND (KCBS) — East Bay transportation advocates kicked off a weeklong campaign Monday, calling on banks to pay back money they said was overpaid by the city’s transportation agency and wants it re-invested in bus routes.

You could compare it to Occupy, but Shelia Lumford with Riders for Transit Justice said they’re more peaceful and organized than that.

Their tactic involves boarding AC Transit buses to state their case to those who use them. Their message is that Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is not spending their money wisely and that lines are being cut as fares go up.

KCBS’ Janice Wright Reports:

The transit justice organization blamed interest rate swaps on loans the MTC made with banks and that now the agency is spending $53 million a year in interest.

That’s money they said could be going towards buses, but is instead being spent on what Bennie Love, who opposes the fare hikes, called “pet projects”.

“Things like road construction that doesn’t affect any of the communities needs around having better bus service,” he said.

Randy Renstchler, spokesman for MTC, said it’s true the loans didn’t work out as well as hoped, but they were taken out year ago and the money is locked into certain kinds of projects such as the Bay Bridge work we saw over the weekend and can’t go towards the bus ride.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)


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