BART issues green bonds to support Measure RR renovations

Photo of a BART station parking lot
Jonathan Hale/Staff
BART plans to issue $700 million in bonds intended to support renovations and improvements as part of Measure RR.

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Due to the success of Measure RR — a program centered on rebuilding and improving BART’s infrastructure — the BART Board of Directors voted to issue $700 million worth of climate-friendly green bonds, the sale of which will continue to support renovations.

The Climate Bonds Initiative certified BART’s green bonds after concluding that Measure RR will help minimize the use of cars in the Bay Area, according to a BART press release. The press release added that money produced from these bonds is intended to improve the reliability of BART services, and subsequently to motivate more Bay Area residents to use public transit as a means of commuting.

“These bonds are supporting rebuilding projects that have a direct impact on the Bay Area’s climate footprint,” said BART representative Chris Filippi in an email. “Replacing the core infrastructure of BART is essential to ensure the system is as reliable as possible. That reliability allows riders to count on us for their trips instead of driving.”

Measure RR was passed with a large majority in several Bay Area counties.

As a result, many essential pieces of the BART system have been improved or rebuilt, such as train rails and power cables. It aims to maximize not only efficiency, but the amount of people who rely on BART each day.

Additionally, BART noted in a press release that, although the plan is only five years into its expected 20-year timeline, 35% of the expected work has already been completed. The sale of the green bonds will enable the plans laid out in Measure RR to continue smoothly and successfully, the press release said.

“The Measure RR program has made tremendous progress in its first five years of existence,” Filippi said in the email. “BART has already replaced 42 out of 90 miles of worn rail throughout the system. In many cases the rail components being replaced are 50 years old. In the last year BART has completed work on 14 projects.”

Though the measure intends to create a more effective and speedy system of public transportation for the Bay Area, it has resulted in issues for regular BART riders, according to Filippi. He added construction on railways can cause train delays, and people who live close to the stations often have to deal with loud noises.

However, Filippi emphasized that BART has worked to inform the public about the measure and its effectiveness as a way of easing these frustrations.

“BART has focused so much on public outreach. New releases, online passenger bulletins, station posters, digital advertising, system announcements, community meetings, briefings with public officials, and direct mailers to residents are some of the methods BART has used to keep the public updated on the progress of RR and its impacts,” Filippi said in the email.

Contact Grace Nelligan at [email protected].