Voters load virtual Clipper Card with $3.5 billion in BART bonds

Bay Area voters in BART’s three-district counties approved a $3.5 billion bond measure Tuesday night that will go toward repairing the transit system’s aging infrastructure and upgrading BART’s train control system.

Measure RR tallied a combined total of 70 percent of voters from San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa counties backing the bond measure, with 29 percent of voters against it. The measure needed a cumulative two-thirds approval from the three counties.

Property owners in the three counties will pay higher property taxes to pay for the $3.5 billion bond.

In San Francisco, 81 percent of voters in The City approved Measure RR, and 70 percent of voters in Alameda County voted in favor of the bond measure. Voters in Contra Costa County showed less enthusiasm for the measure, with 59 percent of voters approving.

The bond measure will pay for upgrading BART’s 44-year old aging infrastructure, which include replacing 90 miles of worn-out tracks, old train control systems, repairing walls damaged by water, refurbishing train yards and making sure BART can withstand the next big earthquake.

BART’s Board President Tom Radulovich said in a statement on Wednesday he thanked voters on their commitment to the transit system:

“More than two-thirds of voters said they want a better BART system and are willing to help pay for it. Strong majorities in Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties voted yes for a Better BART.”

He added:

“By reinvesting in BART, Bay Area voters said yes to a regional future that’s more equitable, sustainable, inclusive, connected, and prosperous.”

One of the more vocal opponents of Measure RR has been state Sen. Steve Glazer. He wrote in an op-ed piece in the East Bay Times that BART’s problems did not happen overnight and questions why the transit agency did not deal problems with overcrowding and infrastructure problems sooner.