BART should focus on fixing the existing system, not pricey extensions

Joël Ramos Headshot


Thank you to everyone who spoke up at the BART Board’s meeting last week to keep BART reliable and affordable by prioritizing maintenance over expansion. (You can read more about our priorities for BART in last week’s blog post here.)

This morning's commute shutdown in the TransBay Tube showed just how high the stakes are for keeping core BART service running safely and reliably. Thousands of commuters – both those who wanted to ride BART, and those who were driving toward the Bay Bridg – suffered terrible delays when one direction of the Tube was closed for several hours.

Yet despite several community members, including TransForm’s own Clarrissa Cabansagan, speaking out in favor of prioritizing maintenance over expansion, the Board voted to allocate $100,000 toward studies to explore the possibility of expanding BART to Ocean Beach and Hercules.

While we disagree with this decision, we continue to urge the Board to respect the Metro Vision Plan priorities as they invest additional staff time and resources for extension studies.

With a $6 billion budget deficit in State of Good Repair (SoGR) funding projected over the next 10 years, it’s essential that we address maintenance issues before trying to extend BART. To ensure BART can meet the reliability, cleanliness, and capacity needs of its growing ridership, we urged the Board to respect the Metro Vision Plan’s recommended capital priorities:

1) New Rail Cars, Train Control Modernization, and Hayward Maintenance Complex
2) Reinvestment/SoGR
3) Capacity
4) Stations
5) Infill
6) Expansion

Capacity MapFollowing these priorities will ensure that we can have BART running smoothly and efficiently before throwing any more money to expansion projects that we can’t necessarily afford. And as shown in the ridership map above, it’s clear that investments made in the core system will address stations and connections that serve the most people.

The good news is that instead of conducting these studies outside of the Metro Vision Plan, they will be folded into the process and examined under the same criteria as all other projects being considered. This means that, while $100,000 will be used to study costly extensions, the studies won’t be conducted in a vacuum. They will be gauged against the recommended priorities as listed above and will be unlikely to supersede first improving the current BART system to meet safety and maintenance needs.

The BART Board hearing to finalize the draft budget will be on June 13, 2013, at 6:00 pm. Come out and speak up to say you want BART to focus on keeping BART fast, reliable, and affordable. Ask the directors to respect the Metro Vision process and to not make promises for more extensions we can’t afford.

Click here to learn more about our work to save BART.


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TransForum is the blog of TransForm, California's leading transportation advocate. For more about our work, including ways you can take action and contribute, visit