bart takes positive step toward november bond measure
Bay Area commuters got some encouraging news this week (April 11) when BART announced a tentative agreement that for five years would effectively avoid a possible repeat of the messy and disruptive worker strikes that crippled the regional commute for eight days in 2013. The agreement, if approved by the BART Board and ratified by union workers, would extend the current contract from 2017 to 2021. Bay Area Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman called the agreement “a necessary, rider-centric move” that helps return focus to passing a proposed November bond measure that would pay to overhaul BART’s failing 50-year-old infrastructure.
“Recent malfunctions have brought into focus the fact that if BART catastrophically fails – by a worker strike or equipment failure – current riders will spill out onto our jammed freeways and roadways creating unprecedented gridlock. We cannot afford that,” Wunderman said. “Our top priority is to help bring BART’s machinery, rails, electric systems, stations, cars and other infrastructure into a state of good repair to ensure safe and reliable service for the system’s more than 400,000 daily passengers.”
The Bay Area Council remains actively engaged with the BART’s elected leadership and management as the agency works to address labor and other operating costs. The agency also this week announced that it is facing a projected budget deficit of $477 million over the next 10 years, including $77 million associated with pay increases from the proposed contract extension. The Council’s Transportation Committee expects to hear more about these issues during a discussion we’re hosting on April 27 with BART Executive Director Grace Crunican. To engage in our transportation policy work, please contact Policy Manager Emily Loper.