Op-Ed: Legislature Must Reign in the BART ‘Train Wreck’

In November, Bay Area voters approved a $3.5 billion bond for capital improvement projects to the Bay Area Rapid Transit System. While voters were already weary of BART’s promises, they were assured the measure was desperately needed to fix aging infrastructure and reduce commuter delays. So it must have been a real doozy to wake up to all these headlines last week:

BART Considers Service Cuts and Raising Fares Due to Low Ridership  

BART Passengers in East Bay Experiencing 20-Minute Delays

New BART Trains Weigh More Than Originally Contracted For  

BART Wants to Ask Voters for Bridge Toll Hike  

Remember, these stories come on the heels of BART janitors making six figures a year and train operators being paid to man a station with no trains.

But the real outrage came last week. According to a report in the East Bay Times, BART is signaling a move to renege on its promise to voters and redirect as much as $1.2 billion to employee salaries. The Editorial Board, which opposed the measure from the get-go, is fed up. It’s now calling on the California Legislature to reign in the state’s busiest rapid transit rail system.

“The Bay Area’s critical transit district is being run under a cloud of deceit,” the editors write. They give the nod to three bills aimed at restoring fiscal sanity to BART, but note their sponsors will face an uphill battle.

As reasonable as these measures are, Baker and Glazer will have a tough time garnering support in the labor-dominated Legislature.

But they might have leverage: The Legislature will soon be considering a transportation infrastructure package and placing a bridge toll increase on the ballot from which BART wants even more money.

BART shouldn’t get more until its leaders start managing what they have responsibly.


Comments

Finance

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 - 05:13

The noose is tightening around California’s cities and counties. At least one-third of local and state budgets now go toward public employee pensions.