OAKLAND (CBS SF) — As voters in three Bay Area counties get ready to decide on $3.5 billion bond Measure RR aimed at repairing and upgrading BART, on Monday supporters and detractors were making a last-minute effort to win the public over to their side.
Every time KPIX 5 reports on an issue with BART, a transit spokesperson usually cites the issue as another example of why Measure RR has to pass.
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Monday morning, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, Rep. Barbara Lee, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf all appeared at an Oakland rally to show their support for Measure RR.
“Just as BART connects our cities into a system so that we can all go around, we are here connected together,” said Schaaf.
Measure RR would help BART make improvements that would allow the system to better serve a region bogged down with commuter congestion. BART says, thanks to them, roughly 12,000 more people get across San Francisco Bay per hour via train compared to those who drive across the bridge.
“In a region that is growing exponentially where we will anticipate more than 2 million more residents by 2040,” said Newsom. “In a region that is desperate for comprehensive infrastructure and transit.”
Most of the program plan would be used to repair and replace existing infrastructure. The rest would go towards crowd relief, traffic reduction and more access to BART stations.
State Senator Steve Glazer says he’s not against any of those things, but he is opposed to Measure RR because he doesn’t trust how BART will continue to spend taxpayers’ money.
“So they want to put a gun up to us taxpayers and say, ‘pay up or else,'” said Glazer.
There are nine BART stations in the 7th District that Senator Glazer represents. He says the system started breaking down back in 1993.
“We need a smart, thoughtful plan that’s comprehensive and doesn’t allow them to take this money, use it for salaries and benefits to the highest paid transit workforce in America,” argued Glazer.
Measure RR is only on the ballots in Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco counties. It needs a two-thirds majority to pass.