BART has 'Stockholm Syndrome,' Board Member Says

Categories: Public Transit
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Wait, that's not Stockholm...
Let's not mince words here: The BART board's asinine idea of using one-time state funds to temporarily save riders a few pennies for every ride is pandering to the electorate at its most blatant. It's bad transit policy. Hell, it's bad fiscal policy. The only thing it's good for is attempting to buy off voters.

Actually, it's not even much good at that: Would a 2 or 3 percent fare rollback affect your vote for a BART board member? A daily Oakland to San Francisco commuter would save a whole dollar a week! Wow, go to hell with yourselves!

"If you look at who's running for office and who's in favor of the fare rollback [on the BART board], it's almost a one-to-one correspondence," said San Francisco BART board member Tom Radulovich after leaving yesterday's board meeting. "The weather vane is currently blowing in favor of the fare rollback. It certainly does feel like election-year pandering."

You think?

If the BART board members can ween themselves off the amazingly foolish idea of using  a potentially one-time influx to subsidize their political careers, it's not as if BART doesn't have serious financial shortfalls. Radulovich sees the fact that many of his colleagues are falling all over themselves to blow a state payment that's actually a fraction of voter-mandated funding Sacramento out-and-out stole as the symptom of a deeper malady.

"It's Stockholm Syndrome. We've been held hostage by the state so long, we've begun to identify with our captors," he said with a laugh.

What else could BART do with the money? Well, despite the fact the agency's policy that it maintain a 5 percent reserve, Radulovich points out the funds currently sitting at the bottom of the reserve tank would barely run BART for two weeks. "Any business is advised to have at least three months of operational costs on reserve," he points out.

There are other radical notions of cleaning trains, doing delayed maintenance, installing money-saving low-power lighting, or upgrading disco-era train interiors. More so than a buck a week, Radulovich says, this would be "a thank-you to riders."

Then again, no voter ever rewarded a politician for replenishing the reserves. When it comes to having one's cake and eating it too -- too complicated! Everyone wants cake!

"No, you don't get rewarded for it," acknowledges Radulovich. "But it's the smart thing to do."

Radulovich, for the record, is not up for reelection until 2012

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