Regional voters pass $3.5 billion BART bond measure

Measure RR receives 70.1% approval across three counties on Election Night

BART officials are thanking voters Wednesday for approving Measure RR, the $3.5 billion regional bond measure to help improve BART's transit infrastructure.

Voters in San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa counties voted Tuesday to pass the measure, giving BART a much-needed infusion of cash to improve and repair the aging transit system.

"We are grateful for all the Bay Area voters who doubled down on their commitment to transit and to BART," BART board President Tom Radulovich said in a statement Wednesday.

The measure required a two-thirds majority to win approval and voters in the three counties passed it with 70.1% of ballots cast. San Francisco voters passed it with 81.1% of the vote, Alameda County voters passed it with 70.8%, and just 59.5% of Contra Costa County voters approved it.

"Thank you, Bay Area, for affirming the need to replace this 44-year-old train system's worn rail, train control equipment, leaking tunnels and power transmission infrastructure," Radulovich said. "By reinvesting in BART, Bay Area voters said yes to a regional future that's more equitable, sustainable, inclusive, connected and prosperous."

Infrastructure to be improved includes 90 miles of severely worn tracks, water-damaged tunnels and 44-year-old train control systems, among other projects.

BART officials have said the bond measure was necessary to upgrade the system, which has many components still in place from its construction in the 1970s.

Opponents of the measure have said the agency hasn't made reinvestment in the infrastructure a priority, instead focusing on expansion to the South Bay and elsewhere.

Roughly two-thirds of BART's capital budget is now devoted to system improvements rather than expansion.

-- Bay City News Service

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24 people like this
Posted by BART rider
a resident of Danville
on Nov 10, 2016 at 8:58 am

You idiots that approved this just gave the bart union lackeys on the bart board the go-ahead for more outrageous increases for bart worker salaries. The East Bay Times reported a few days ago that a custodian made over 300,000 last year including overtime.

20 people like this
Posted by Long term resident
a resident of Danville
on Nov 10, 2016 at 12:49 pm

I couldn't agree more with BART Rider. BART employees are already the highest paid transit employees in the world. The BART contract is used by other transit unions across the U.S. as to what they all aspire to (I.e. High salaries, only a high school diploma or equivalent, pension, free medical, full pension,etc.. Those for this proposition have promised the funds will not be used for salaries. However, they wouldn't need the bonds in the first place if the payroll and benefits weren't so wasteful. Not only that, the BART board already committed to salary increases of 2.5, 2.5, 2, and 2% over the next 4 years. It was all done out of fear for a strike which would shut the system down. Our local elected officials have promised to make it illegal for BART she Nino employees to strike, but haven't fulfilled that promise. Of course the union doesn't want that because that is their biggest threat during negotiations.

In addition to the above, only the present value of the bond is indicated at $3.5 billion. With interest, it is really well over $6 billion we will pay. All because the BART board are not negotiating in our best interests with our money!

There is no doubt BART needs new trains and repairs. They have for the past 20 years. We have now given BART management the freedom to continue wasting funds without dealing with the real problems.

I travel all over the world. BART is one of the most expensive systems I use and it pails in comparison to systems in Singapore, Shanghai, London, and Tokyo to name a few. We are now paying exorbitant costs for both BART improvements and a high speed train. Too bad the funds for the high speed train couldn't have been used for better in-city transportation in the Bay Area and LA basin rather than a train between the two.

19 people like this
Posted by Disconcerted
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 10, 2016 at 5:35 pm

Bart Rider could not have said it any better. With the present politics in CA, we are doomed to mediocrity.

3 people like this
Posted by transit supporter
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 10, 2016 at 11:15 pm

Yea Bay Area residents. Thanks for being smart about OVERWHELMINGLY supporting the most important regional transit system for all of us. When the 40 year rail parts start failing like we've seen this year I don't mind paying my share to ensure safety on my next BART ride. The complainers sound like the basic taxpayer association gadflies. Move to another region where your opinions really matter.

11 people like this
Posted by Mike
a resident of Alamo
on Nov 11, 2016 at 12:38 am

If bart supporter wants to pay his fair share he should push to have bart raise its fares to actually cover salaries and benefits of emplyees as well as maintenance. Why should non riding taxpayers subsidize his transportation! Expansion should be paid for by the communities receiving the benefits. Contra Costa county home owners have been paying the bills for decades.

2 people like this
Posted by James von Halle
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 11, 2016 at 7:09 am

Maybe President elect Trump can issue an executive order stopping this madness.

3 people like this
Posted by Casey Jones
a resident of Danville
on Nov 11, 2016 at 2:34 pm

You poor souls whine louder than an aging BART train in the transbay tube! You argue general points based on samples of 'one', you gripe that workers get raises that keep them even with inflation (the nerve of some people to want to be able to feed their children!), some other place is better when you don't know how they pay for their system, you want government offa your back and oh, yes -- you want excellence for free!

Fortunately, people who don't inhabit these boards had the foresight to understand upkeep and the perspective to get that government isn't the great lazy unwashed Them -- it's us. Maybe those folks have more productive things to do than to sit around and moan. Good for them, and for you too, buncha whiners.

3 people like this
Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Nov 11, 2016 at 3:02 pm

Open question to Mike: Even if you don't ride BART, do you receive any benefit in terms of cleaner air or having fewer other cars on the roads when others ride BART instead of driving? Something to consider.

12 people like this
Posted by Long Term Resident
a resident of Danville
on Nov 11, 2016 at 6:44 pm

Casey: You should be glad that my type "sit around and moan". I suppose you would rather have us act like the cry babies in Portland and other cities the last few days.

I hate to Burst your bubble, but I actually lived in Germany, Singapore, and Japan and experienced their transit systems for years. I don't ride BART on a regular basis. I do know that the average transit workers in the countries mentioned above don't make anywhere near $131,000/year like BART employees. Your cost of living argument is fine if you assume the BART workers are fairly paid today. I argue they are way overpaid already and one way for BART to control expenses is to reduce salary increspases. As for paying for BART, I already pay over $100 per year as an addition to my property tax. In addition, every time I make a purchase in a BART county, I pay an additional 0.5% and have since 1970 when the "temporary tax" was put into place until BART was self sustaining. In Japan, most of the transit systems have been privatized as the government admitted that private industry would do a better job of running the systems efficiently.

I fully agree with you and others that BART plays a very important role in the Bay Area. However, I believe we could get a lot more value out of the system without taking on another $3.5 billion in debt (over $6 billion with interest).

4 people like this
Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Nov 15, 2016 at 12:24 pm

Maybe this is stating the obvious, but it is entirely possible to be in favor of BART in a general sense, and to have been opposed to the bond referendum. Heck, even the East Bay Times (Bay Area News Group) was opposed to the bond proposition, because it had loopholes in it that basically don't guarantee that the money will all be used for capital improvements. (More precisely, it allows BART to shift existing budget funds AWAY from capital improvements, and toward raises and benefits. A big shell game...). And also that it's not a good idea to keep funneling money to a fiscally-irresponsible BART board. (Google the East Bay Times editorial of Nov 8th, "BART election results eliminate hope of fiscal reform." At least in our district we elected a board member with more fiscal restraint, Debora Allen. But she will be fighting an uphill battle....

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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