By Phil Matier

LAFAYETTE (KPIX 5) — BART warns that breakdowns and delays could be even worse if voters don’t sign off on a multi-billion dollar bond measure on the November ballot.

But some critics are saying not so fast.

For months backers of BART’s $3.5 billion repair bond have been selling hard, saying the system will fall apart unless Measure RR is approved.

Backers like BART director Rebecca Saltzman, who said, “We really need this infusion of funds from the voters.”

And former Caltrans’ director Will Kempton. He said, “Breakdowns on the system could become much more frequent.”

And while early polls show the bond appears to be passing in San Francisco and Alameda counties – voters in Contra Costa County – where the 2013 BART strike hit commuters the hardest, are still up in the air.

On Wednesday, opponents in Contra Costa County led by State Sen. Steve Glazer hit back saying BART can’t be trusted with the money. And everyone took notice.

Glazer said,”They’ve negotiated five separate contracts, given excessive raises to managers and workers, and now they say ‘gun to the head’ you must approve RR.”

He also called for a law barring BART strikes and an end to the $1,000 bonuses for every BART worker and manager if ridership exceeds expectations.

“It is about trust,” Glazer said.

Saltzman said the board is committed that all of the money will go into repairs.

She said the money is needed “so that we can reduce the delays, so we can increase the capacity and make BART, you know, the reliable system that the Bay Area has depended on.”

And regarding the $1,000 bonuses for every worker, Saltzman said, “Well, they are in the contract so we can’t go re-open the contract.”

And regarding manager bonuses, Saltzman said, “Again, these are things that have already happened.”

BART is already running at capacity and is likely to get more crowded as the system expands to San Jose and elsewhere in the coming years.

A two-thirds majority is needed to pass the measure.

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