On Monday morning, BART and its major unions announced that a tentative agreement had been reached on a new four-year contract, a deal that helps put the brinkmanship of the 2013 strike behind us and five strike-free years ahead of us.
That is a welcome development, but a stoppage is still a threat. BART is plagued by $9.6 billion in deferred maintenance and a shutdown caused by equipment problems would be no better for riders than a strike.
The degraded condition of the BART system did not develop overnight and it is fair to question past decisions made by the Board and management. Ultimately, the Board is accountable for the system’s performance.
The East Bay must invest in this vital public service and demand accountability from an organization that our region needs to be at its best.
While the East Bay may not be pushed to the brink by a BART labor dispute for the next five years, its infrastructure is still at the brink of breakdown.
The EBLC has not endorsed the possible BART bond measure and will not take a formal position until the measure is approved by the Board, but we do believe it is time to face our reality and make wise infrastructure investments.