Endorsement: Reinvest for a Safe and Reliable BART

Image: Wikipedia Commons.
Image: Wikipedia Commons.

Streetsblog San Francisco recommends a yes vote on Measure RR, the $3.5 billion bond measure to keep BART safe and reliable.

Measure RR will replace and repair the core infrastructure of BART by upgrading its 1960s train-control system, renewing existing stations, replacing over 90 miles of worn-down rails, improving electrical power systems, and enhancing BART’s ability to withstand earthquakes.

Not only will these investments deliver essential safety and reliability benefits, they will also allow BART to increase capacity. A modern train control system will enable BART to run trains faster and closer together, accommodating nearly 200,000 additional daily riders. With BART ridership set to grow 75 percent by 2040, we need to act now to meet the demands of the future. Additionally, moving more people by train relieves pressure on our congested roads, so whether you ride BART or not, Measure RR benefits you.

Measure RR also has environmental benefits. Electrical upgrades will allow more on-site solar power at BART stations and yards, and help BART deliver on its goal of being the first subway system in the country to power itself with 100 percent renewable energy. With fewer drivers on the road, Measure RR will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

Realizing these positive policy efforts hinges on the passage of Measure RR.

After years of expansions, a new generation of BART leadership has committed to reinvesting in the core system.

Reinvestment efforts began years ago when BART secured funding to replace its aging fleet of rail cars, and new trains will start to arrive early next year. Measure RR expands upon these efforts by focusing on the core system through a “fix-it-first” approach. By law, all funding must go to capital improvements–not a penny can go toward operating costs. An independent oversight committee, made up of engineers, accountants, and the public, will be created to ensure transparency and that the money is spent responsibly and wisely.

BART and the Bay Area are at a critical moment. Our growing region is putting pressure on our roads and our ability to keep the Bay Area running. Our main public transportation system needs fundamental repairs to keep it safe and reliable. It’s time to rebuild BART. We cannot spend another decade relying on current aging and inefficient systems. Without meaningful investment, declining reliability and capacity constraints will undermine our sustainability goals, increase roadway congestion, and disrupt access to jobs and services across the income spectrum.

It’s time to bring BART to a standard that is commensurate with its essential role in our region.

Bay Area voters will be faced with a bevy of measures, candidates and propositions this election cycle. But there’s nothing on the ballot that is clearer. BART’s just too important to our region.

Streetsblog urges a YES vote on Measure RR on November 8.

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The new BART train leaving Lake Merritt station. Photo: Streetsblog/SF

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