OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - Voters approved BART's request for a $3.5 billion bond measure to modernize, enhance and enhance passenger loads. BART now has a "shopping list" it promises to follow.
Every cent of BART's bond money is earmarked for specific projects; not raises or other diversions.
BART's District 8 Director Nick Josefowitz says his view is that voters wanted commute relief; not to play politics with BART or punish it for past crippling strikes.
"What the voters very clearly said is that BART is incredibly important to this region. It's important to BART riders, obviously, but it's important who get on our freeways or roads." says Mr. Josefowitz
So what will taxpayers get for their money?
$1,225 billion will go for massive improvements in BART's original high power electrical system that powers the trains across most of the vast original system.
$705 million will go to repair 40 miles of leaking tunnels and other critical structures as well as renew mechanical infrastructure.
$625 million will go to replace 90 miles of original track for a smoother, safer, quieter ride.
$400 million will go to renovate the ancient train control system. The pay off on this, says BART, is huge. "We're gonna be upgrading our train control systems so that our trains can run faster and closer together so that we can get more people through our system," says Josefowitz.
$210 million will go to renew stations.
$200 million to design projects to relieve crowding and traffic congestion as well as increase back-up systems.
$190 million will replace BART's our oldest and most problematic escalators that carry the most people.
Again, BART promises, a huge overall pay off.
"We're gonna be a much safer system. We’re gonna be a much more reliable system and we're gonna be able to significantly grow the capacity of our system." says Mr. Josefowitz.
Commuters say BART had better deliver. "Someone needs to oversee them and make sure that they're spending money correctly so we don't have another bond measure in the next four years to fix things that they said they would fix with this bond measure," says rider and taxpayer Richard Shakelford.
"In the past, we've seen where they've elected to utilize funds that we're originally earmarked for that and that's where they lose credibility. And, if they want to continue to be able to pass these ballot measures and adequately fund the system they need to stick behind what their original plan is," says rider and taxpayer Richard Shakelford Andy Stevens.
BART says some work will begin almost immediately, particularly the escalators.