East Bay

East Bay Officials Want Better Track Record From BART Before Backing $3B Bond for Repairs

Some local elected officials say BART's track record shows that voters should not trust the agency.

The announcements comes as a multi-billion dollar bond to repair the aging transit system is expected to go on the ballot this fall.

"Personally, I think it's an investment and I know the money has to come from somewhere," said Claire Rena, a BART rider.

The repairs needed to upgrade the 40-year-old tracks, stations and trains are estimated to cost $3 billion. BART wants voters to approve a tax initiative to pay for the repairs.

"They need to restore our trust if they are going to ask for billions more in new taxes from us,"  said State Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda.

Glazer said he and more than 30 other East Bay mayors and city council members do not think a new tax is the answer. They are calling for the transit agency to renegotiate its 2013 employee contracts before asking voters to back the bond measure.

"Show that they can be financially responsible, show that they can do it without work stoppages and strikes, and give us the billions that they are asking for in the BART system," Glazer said.

BART spokesperson Alicia Trost argues it is lawmakers who have the power to stop transit workers from striking. Trost adds the bond measure to pay for the needed repairs will include an oversight panel to make sure the money is well spent.

"The bond that we are looking at can only be used on critical infrastructure," Trost said. "Not a penny of it can be used on salaries or anything that can benefit employees."

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