We Must Reinvest for a Safe and Reliable BART

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On November 8, you can dramatically improve our regional transportation system by voting “yes” on the BART bond, Measure RR.  A “yes” for RR will bring $3.5 billion in investment to keep BART safe and reliable.   RR will allow BART to update fundamental parts of its system that are 44 years old: replace more than 90 miles of original 1960s track, upgrade the Pong-era train-control computer system, renew old electric power infrastructure, repair aging tunnels, and replace broken escalators.

These core investments will not only ensure BART’s safety and reliability; they’ll allow BART to dramatically increase its capacity. A modern train control system and power upgrades will enable BART to run longer and more frequent trains.  This’ll create space for nearly 200,000 additional daily riders, who don’t fit on trains today. That’s more new riders than triple the number of people who ride Caltrain daily.

Although Potrero Hill doesn’t have a BART station, Measure RR is critically important to Hill residents’ quality of life. When BART doesn’t function well or doesn’t keep up with the Bay Area’s growth, more cars funnel onto congested streets and highways, slowing our commute.  Equally important, getting more people on BART and out of cars is critical to keeping our air clean and our City on track to meet its ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals.  BART has the lowest greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile of any major U.S. rail system, even before its recent commitment to go to 100 percent renewables by 2025.  When BART works we all benefit.

Without meaningful investment, declining reliability and capacity constraints will undermine sustainability goals, increase roadway congestion, and disrupt access to jobs and services.  The time has come to take responsibility for our transportation infrastructure, and rebuild BART from the ground up.