The following is an Op-Ed by the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association in opposition to Measure J on the March 3 elections ballot. Measure J would levy a half-cent sales tax annually for 35 years that the state cannot take. To view an Op-Ed that advocates in favor of Measure J, click here. Also, click the Contra Costa County Elections site here for more information about the measure.
By Contra Costa Taxpayers Association
The CCTA (Contra Costa Transportation Authority) wants to hand over $148 million of taxpayer money to BART for “cleaner, safer” stations and additional cars. BART has its own budget and recently received $3.5 billion from Measure RR – why can’t they clean their own stations? And only Contra Costans should pay?
Taxpayer waste abounds at BART. Most egregious is the fare evasion problem, which costs $25 million annually, according to the agency’s own admission. And yet, the San Francisco Chronicle recently reported that of roughly6,000 citations issued to fare evaders in 2018, only one was collected. If BART needs extra money, why not start by enforcing its own rules?
BART stations and trains are dirty and unsafe because management is inept, not because funds are lacking. Until management cleans up their act, don’t reward their bad behavior with more of your money.
In addition, this measure contains hiring restrictions that are responsible for driving up costs of taxpayer-funded projects. It requires that all apprenticeship labor must come from certain politically favored sources, rather than the most qualified pool of applicants. Construction labor is already in extremely short supply due to recent wildfire rebuilding efforts. As a result, projects everywhere are currently facing massive cost overruns.
This is the wrong time to impose even further hiring restrictions. The public benefits from open, competitive bidding that awards contracts to the most qualified workers, which keeps costs down and maximizes results per dollar spent. This is the standard voters must demand.There is no excuse for the hundreds of millions of dollars of waste in Measure J.