ELECTION BRIEFS: Measure RR - BART bonds | KALW

ELECTION BRIEFS: Measure RR - BART bonds

Nov 4, 2016

BART opened 44 years ago, in 1972. Now, the system is wearing out. Break-downs and delays have become more common, and as our population grows, the system has become overcrowded.

Measure RR would let BART buy bonds worth $3.5 billion. It’s on the ballot in three counties: San Francisco, Alameda, and Contra Costa.

Homeowners would repay the bonds, plus interest, over the next 48 years. The estimated total cost would be nearly $7 billion.

The bond money would mostly go towards projects that riders won’t really notice, like replacing rails and power lines. But it would also update BART’s traffic control system, allowing trains to travel closer together and carry more people per hour. That, riders would notice.

Lots of Democrats are for measure RR, and it’s received endorsements from the San Francisco Chronicle, Examiner, and Bay Guardian.

But the East Bay Times, Libertarians, and Democratic State Senator Steve Glazer say vote "no" on RR. They don’t trust BART to handle this much money. In their view, BART’s management gives away too much to worker compensation. They say some of the measure dollars might be used to pick up BART’s labor costs, instead of repairing the system. So riders would be stuck with a lot of unsolved issues, and taxpayers would be on the hook for decades.

So if you want to let BART borrow billions to rebuild, vote “yes” on Measure RR. But if you want BART to get its finances in order first, vote “no.” Measure RR requires a two thirds majority to pass.

Citizen respondents to KALW's elections call-out contributed to this post. Our call-outs are part of our community reporting project.