This year is BART’s 40th birthday. While some people swear that 40 is the new 30, when it comes to subway systems, 40 is just plain over-the-hill. About two-thirds of BART cars have been running the rails since the system opened, in 1972.
Paul Oversier is in charge of operations at BART. He says that because BART trains run long distances and at higher speeds than other subway systems, it gives the system a dubious distinction. “We have the oldest cars, and we run them the hardest,” he says.
On a stop in Fresno today, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood pushed for high-speed rail in the state.
“High-speed rail in California is about helping to get the California economy moving again, to get unemployment down, to put friends and neighbors to work,” said LaHood. “And implementing high-speed rail in California will do that.”
The section of the rail line between Fresno and Bakersfield, where construction is set to begin later this year, is the only segment of the estimated $100 billion project with secured funding.
If you’ve ridden on BART lately, you might have seen a photograph of a blue and white beach umbrella standing at the edge of a green farmer’s field. The caption reads, “Those are potatoes.” Or one with a girl in a cowboy hat standing upright in her horse’s saddle, swinging a lasso over her head. The caption: “She’s Also Pretty Good At Volleyball.” Or one with a boy wearing a green 4H tie, proudly holding a goat to his side. “Jesús and Lightning,”
The photos are visions of rural California, pasted on the walls one of the state’s most iconic urban structures.
California State Senator Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) introduced legislation today that would put high-speed rail back on the ballot come November.
In a statement, LaMalfa said that "voters have been misled about the true costs of High-Speed Rail from the start. The costs have tripled since 2008 and every objective observer has said this project is too expensive and is unlikely to be completed.”
In his State of the State address today, Governor Jerry Brown didn’t give an inch on the state’s embattled high-speed rail plan. Likening the project to the launching of BART, the Panama Canal, and the Suez Canal, Brown said: “Those who believe California is in decline will naturally shrink back from such a strenuous undertaking,” he said. “I understand that feeling, but I don’t share it.”