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T4 presentation final


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T4 presentation final

  1. 1. Transit Advocacy:Building Broad CoalitionsRachel DiRestoExecutive Vice President of Center for Planning ExcellenceBroderick BagertLead Organizer, Together Baton Rouge (Industrial Areas Foundation)
  2. 2. Background• Baton Rouge has one of the lowest-funded and worst-performing transit systems in the country• Capital Area Transit System (CATS) holds a parishwide election in 2010. It fails 47% to 53%.• 2011: FuturEBR, a new comprehensive land-use plan for the Parish, put transit as crucial first-step toward long-term plan.• By 2012, CATS would face a major short- fall, and would either have to cut service hours by 46% or shut down entirely in July.
  3. 3. Background• In Feb 2011, Mayor Kip Holden asked Together Baton Rouge and the Baton Rouge Chamber to form a Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) on public transit.• The BRC was charged with the following items: – Pulling together existing data and studies – Gathering extensive community input – Creating concrete plan of action for transit, including funding and political strategy – Considering all other factors that would impact FUTUREBR implementation and transit sustainability
  4. 4. Background: a stronger, citizen sector • In 2008, a group of black churches began building a broad-based, community organizing project. • In 2010, ―Together Baton Rouge‖ launched, with 40 member institutions representing about 50,000 people. • Called ―A new force in the community‖ (The Advocate) and ―the largest group of its kind I have ever seen in the city- parish‖ (Mayor Kip Holden). • Goal: Power and sophistication for the citizen sector.
  5. 5. Blue Ribbon Commission Broad community representation – no politicos or ideologues • Study based on ―peer cities‖, to show how Baton Rouge stacks up (poorly!) and how other places have built solid transit systems. • Reform options framed to encourage aggressive but politically realistic action. • Concluded with concrete plan, with data, analysis and political strategy, which became campaign
  6. 6. Blue Ribbon Commission• Recommendation 1 – Implement Transit Proposal Focused on Ridership Expansion• Recommendation 2 – Support New Public Transit Board Member Nominating Process and Criteria• Recommendation 3 – Overhaul Existing Public Transit Legislation, Reforming Governance Structure and Creating New Capital Area Transit District• Recommendation 4 – Create a Dedicated Revenue Source for Transit• Recommendation 5 – Launch Public Engagement Campaign and Election Drive
  7. 7. Baton Rouge vs. Peer Cities
  8. 8. Campaign Baggage • CATS – not a trusted, reputable agency • CATS budget shortfall – system predicted to shut down in July 2012 • Campaign timeline shifted from Fall 2012 to April 2012 • Single issue campaign – other risks/issues
  9. 9. Campaign Components Decrease wait times from the current average of 75 minutes to 15-20 minutes Build 3 new transit hubs to replace ―spoke‖ system with ―grid‖ system Overhaul bus stops, with new shelters and benches Add GPS tracking to fleet, with exact arrival times accessible on cell phones Overhaul all signage for transit stops, providing detailed route and time information Increase service from 19 to 37 routes, expanding to high-demand areas that currently are not served (eg. O’Neal Lane, Coursey Blvd., Essen and Siegen Lane) Increase peak-hour buses from 32 to 57 Create 3 New Express Lines: Downtown to LSU; Florida Blvd (from Airline to Downtown); Plank Road (with service to Airport)
  10. 10. Baton Rouge Transit Coalition• BRC fulfilled its mission in 3 months, but many partners wanted to stay engaged• BRAC, CPEX, Together BR and CATS held regular working meetings• Fundraising efforts• Developed legislative components• Secured support by business, civic, faith and non-profit leaders• Developed website with facts and research
  11. 11. Governance An amendment to the CATS enabling statute and the City-Parish transit ordinance drafted that would create specific transit board member criteria such as leaders from education, healthcare, planning, human service organizations, transit users An amendment to the CATS enabling statute and the City-Parish transit ordinance was drafted that would create a transit board member nominating committee and process Amendments to the CATS enabling statute and the local transit ordinance have been drafted to remove the Metro Council’s veto over CATS operations
  12. 12. CORE ISSUE: DISTRUST ACROSS RACIAL LINES How we wonStep #1: Built the organization before the fight(Power before program). Built the organization before the transit campaign began. Developed trust through ―house meetings‖ and smaller local issue actions. Built base of hard money (dues and individual support).
  13. 13. How we wonStep #2: Huge campaign of citizen education (Civic Academies) Developed BRC analysis into compelling presentation. Trained team of leaders to conduct ―civic academy‖ sessions. Conducted (with partner orgs) 120 separate events, reaching more than 5,000 people. Education sessions CHANGED THE DIALOGUE.
  14. 14. How we won Step #3: Building the infrastructure to get out the vote.  Built a GOTV army through Civic Academies and 1000-person assembly.  Conducted detailed voter analysis.  Precinct leadership structure and precinct teams.  Intense, 5-weeks of GOTV (walks, phone calls, pews, yard signs).
  15. 15. Results April 21st—election approved • Baton Rouge– 54%-48% • Baker– 58%-42% • Zachary– rejected 79%-21%
  16. 16. Lessons Learned• This was a campaign led by civic sector – diverse partners• Know your partners roles and capacities• Communication is key• Did not waver from components – voters knew what they were buying• Outreach, outreach, and more outreach• Respond to opponents – but don’t waste energy• Focus on win – who will vote