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Monday, January 31, 2011

BART Needs $2 Billion Worth of Repairs

Posted By on Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 4:45 PM

click to enlarge BART maintenance is a trainwreck.
  • BART maintenance is a trainwreck.
BART maintenance is a trainwreck.
More than one-fifth of the equipment BART uses is in poor or shoddy condition -- and fixing it would cost taxpayers at least $2 billion, according to a January report by rthe U.S. Government Accountability Office.

America's public transit facilities have -- for years -- deteriorated faster than agencies have fixed them, the report said. This can result in serious collisions, such as the San Francisco Muni wreck that injured 48 people on July 18, 2009, or the Washington D.C. commuter rail accident that killed nine and injured 52.

SF Weekly
asked a BART spokesman to discuss the report -- and the repairs. We will update you when we hear back.

The report found that transit agencies are delaying important repairs that are mere inconveniences, including fixing elevators and ventilation fans. Nationwide, inspectors found

decayed and broken electric equipment, bridge supports,

and tracks -- all of which put commuters at risk of being injured or killed.

The

GAO report did not include Muni in its repair backlog tally; however,  inspectors collected data which helped paint a better picture of the nation's overall safety culture and pinpointed needed repairs. Inspectors used worn-down Muni tracks as

an example of dilapidated infrastructure that could increase the chances of train derailment.

click to enlarge SF Muni rail yard track that is stressed and worn. Track defects can increase the likelihood of derailments.
  • SF Muni rail yard track that is stressed and worn. Track defects can increase the likelihood of derailments.
SF Muni rail yard track that is stressed and worn. Track defects can increase the likelihood of derailments.


Despite this massive backlog of repairs, don't assume that cars are safer. Even with billions of dollars in needed repairs, rail transit is still 70 times safer than driving, the report said.

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