SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — BART officials on Wednesday said climate change and sea level rise will pose a growing threat to the transit system in the coming decades.
The beleaguered transit agency is trying to find money to address the long-term but looming threat.READ MORE: Elon Musk, Tesla Super Fans Blast Biden Administration Move Toward Regulating Autopilot
“One of the predictions is that we could see tides that a foot higher than they are now by mid-century. So, that’s 2050,” said BART spokesperson Jim Allison.
BART engineers say there could be a number of potential impacts from sea level rise. San Francisco’s Embarcadero station, for example, could occasionally be inundated by high tides.
Other stations could be threatened by rising groundwater that would strain the system’s existing pumps and aging infrastructure.
“The thing for me is we’re in the Bay Area at the height of technology and innovation, yet this is an old system that’s really dilapidated,” said BART rider Jason Caballero.READ MORE: Flash Flood Watches Issued As Storm Aims at Fire-Scarred Northern California
BART has identified many of the potential problem areas, but the agency is cash strapped, dependent on infusions of money from the federal government just to keep the trains running.
“The devastating impact of the pandemic and the drastic reduction in the numbers of riders who pay for their tickets has really thrown a curveball into our funding plan,” said Allison.
BART riders say they understand the transit agency’s financial predicament, but worry about the long-term costs of inaction.
“It might be better to say, ‘Let’s act like it’s going to happen in 10 years.’ And in 10 years time, what could the BART system do to have a plan in place to not be caught with our pants down and in knee-deep water, wading to work in the BART system?” asked rider Bianca Espinoza.MORE NEWS: Amid the Capitol Riot, Facebook Faced Its Own Insurrection
BART officials noted that several vulnerable stations are connected to other important pieces of infrastructure in the Bay Area, like the airports in San Francisco and Oakland. Any plan to mitigate those impacts would, out of necessity, have to be regional and collaborative.