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Keeping BART fast, reliable, and affordable
What You Can Do:
- Speak up at BART’s budget hearings to say you want BART to focus on keeping BART fast, reliable, and affordable. Ask the Directors not to make false promises for more extensions we can’t afford. Key budget hearing is May 23, 6pm, with final approval expected at June 13, 6pm meeting.
- April 25, 2013: BART staff presents latest update on their “Future BART”, or "BART Metro" study process. BART Metro is a concept of making the system more flexible, with more frequent service in the core areas, and it requires a strong focus on maintaining the existing system. For more information, see the Future BART page and Future BART FAQs on BART's website.
- April 11, 2013: BART releases preliminary budget, showing focus on passenger service needs: new rail cars, cleaner stations, and investments in an updated train control system that can allow trains to run more frequently.
- March 7, 2012: A BART produced video (right) highlights the system's aging fleet and states: "BART needs State and Federal support to keep one of the nations most important public transportation systems in a state of good repair." The video makes clear the tough financial facts presented to the BART Board by their staff (see reports below) on November 11, 2011.
- March 7, 2012: TransForm releases analysis of Alameda County's proposed increase and extension of the Measure B transportation sales tax. The analysis lays out problems with the Livermore project in detail and what BART and MTC need to do to take a rational approach to keep BART fast, reliable, and affordable while also planning better service for Livermore.
- February 9, 2012: BART Board takes several steps to protect the overall system while going forward with an alternatives analysis for a Livermore project. The Board directs staff to ensure the Livermore analysis considers a wide range of alternatives. Now BART needs to make sure it is the lead agency for the environmental review! See our blog post for details, including two letters from TransForm to the BART Board.
- January 26, 2012: Alameda County Transportation Commission adopts a final spending plan for the proposed increase and extension of the Measure B transportation sales tax. The plan includes some funding for BART's core system and $400 million towards BART to Livermore, with language specifying that the project needs to be the most effective and efficient technology. See our Measure B page for background.
- November 4, 2011: BART Board hears presentations by BART staff on the State of Good Repair:
Looming problems for BART
BART has huge unfunded shortfalls to maintain the existing system. Built in the 60s and 70s, it is getting old and needs major upgrades. BART cars are already packed at rush hour. The recent forward progress on the car replacement program is important. But it is only part of the story -- BART must follow up with progress on other fronts. More and more people want to ride, but BART can't handle the increase without major investment to fix it first. Without those investments, trains would move much slower and could carry as few as half as many riders at commute hours. BART needs major investments in its "State of Good Repair" (SGR).
See two presentations to the BART Board; one with details of the looming problem and another report about what could happen if the problems aren't solved.
Promised extensions will add to problems
BART already has 3 unfinished extensions on the books -- to San Jose, Oakland Airport, and Eastern Contra Costa County. BART's needs will get bigger when additional riders from new extensions get on board, . BART needs to focus on saving the existing BART system, not promising more extensions.
Livermore needs real transit solutions now, not false promises
There has been increasing pressure for BART to promise another extension to Livermore. Residents of Livermore understandably want better rapid transit connections to the BART system and key job centers, and to make connections to key destinations such as Livermore Labs, Las Positas College, and downtown Livermore. Extending BART to downtown Livermore, or the I-580 exit close to downtown, would cost over $3 billion, an amount everyone recognizes is unrealistic.
Recently, project proponents have been talking about a one-station extension, taking BART just five miles down the road to Isabel Avenue for $1.2 billion. But promising to extend BART's traditional technology to Livermore is a recipe for another decade of disappointment for Livermore, forcing the county to scramble to find money that isn't there for an overly expensive project. Further, the city wants stations in the freeway median, while BART policy describes freeway median stations as 'low quality' as they do not support transit-oriented development and degrade the riders' experience (see BART System Expansion Policy, page 19 for description of Station Context) . BART, Livermore, and Alameda County need to focus on figuring out the most cost-effective and realistic way to connect Livermore to the BART system and job centers – in a few years instead of a few decades – taking advantage of HOV lanes recently built or coming in the next 3 years.