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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco Counties, CA November 2, 2004 Election
Proposition AA
BART Earthquake Safety Bond
San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District

2/3 Approval Required

807,556 / 68.8% Yes votes ...... 365,975 / 31.2% No votes
   224,297 (75.88%) Yes / 71,301 (24.12%) No in San Francisco County
   352,351 (70.5%) Yes / 147,131 (29.5%) No in Alameda County
   230,908 (61.0%) Yes / 147,543 (39.0%) No in Contra Costa County

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Nov 30 9:04am, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (922/922)
99.9% Voter Turnout (984/504)
  Includes Precincts in San Francisco County
  Includes 1,141/1,141 Precincts in Alameda County as of Dec 15 1:28pm
  Includes 921/921 Precincts in Contra Costa County as of Dec 15 1:28pm
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Tax Rate Statement |

To protect public safety and keep Bay Area traffic moving in the aftermath of an earthquake or other disaster, shall BART, the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District, be authorized to issue bonds not to exceed $980 million dollars to make earthquake safety improvements to BART facilities in Contra Costa, San Francisco and Alameda Counties, including strengthening tunnels, bridges, overhead tracks and the underwater Transbay Tube, and establish an independent citizens' oversight committee to verify bond revenues are spent as promised?

Impartial Analysis from County Counsel, County of Alameda
Measure AA, a San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District ("BART") bond measure, seeks voter approval to authorize BART to issue general obligation bonds in series over time in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $980,000,000, at interest rates not exceeding the statutory maximum, to strengthen, seismically retrofit, improve and replace BART facilities in Alameda and Contra Costa counties and the City and County of San Francisco.

The bonds will have a maturity not exceeding thirty-five (35) years from the issue date of such series. Funds of each series of bonds are proposed to be used to strengthen tunnels, bridges, overhead tracks and the underwater Transbay Tube. Funds cannot legally be used for general operating or administrative expenses. An independent citizens oversight committee would be appointed to review independent audits of the bond program and report bond expenditures to the public, in order to ensure that bond money is properly spent.

Section 1(b) of Article XIIIA of the California Constitution provides an exception to the one percent property tax limit by allowing special districts to increase the property tax rate above one percent to pay off bonded indebtedness only for the purchase or improvement of real property. Pursuant to Section 29169 of the California Public Utilities Code and Section 1 of Article XIIIA, the proposed measure shall become effective only upon the affirmative vote of two-thirds of those electors voting on the measure.

Approval of this measure will authorize BART to levy an ad valorem tax on the assessed value of real property within the BART District by an amount needed to pay the principal and interest on these bonds. The Tax Rate Statement for Measure AA in this Voter Pamphlet reflects BART's best estimates, based upon currently available data and projections, of the property tax rates required to service the bonds in the first year in which taxes are expected to be levied to pay debt service on the bonds, the year in which the tax is expected to be highest, and in the year following the last expected issuance of bonds, all as required by statute. The estimate of the tax rate required to be levied to fund the bonds in each year throughout the term of authorization ranges between .485 center per 100 dollars of assessed valuation ($4.85 per $100,000) and 1.279 cents per 100 dollars of assessed valuation ($12.79 per $100,000), as set forth more fully in the measure's Tax Rate Statement in this Voter Pamphlet.

If two-thirds of the qualified electors voting on this measure do not vote for approval, the measure will fail and BART will not be authorized to issue the bonds to fund earthquake safety improvements.


County Counsel County of Alameda

The above statement is an impartial analysis of Measure AA. If you desire a copy of the full text of Measure AA, please call the BART District Secretary at (510) 464-6096 and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you.

  Official Information

Measure AA Fact Sheet from BART
Nonpartisan Information

League of Women Voters

Pros & Cons of this Measure from the League of Women Voters of the Bay Area
News and Analysis

Oakland Tribune

Tri Valley Herald Partisan Information

Many reasons suggesting this measure may be ill advised
Suggest a link related to Proposition AA
Links to sources outside of Smart Voter are provided for information only and do not imply endorsement.

Arguments For Proposition AA Arguments Against Proposition AA
Vote Yes on Measure AA to assure BART's quick return to service after a major earthquake. The Bay Area could be gridlocked without BART during years of rebuilding. With Measure AA, BART could be back to service in days. Measure AA will strengthen the TransBay Tube, elevated trackways and passenger stations.

Vote YES on Measure AA to protect safety.World-renowned experts have determined that elements of the BART System are vulnerable to earthquakes. Experienced engineers agree that earthquake improvements made possible by Measure AA will work.

Vote YES on Measure AA to keep the region moving. Whether you ride BART or not, a BART shutdown will affect everyone. Experts say a BART shutdown will add 310,000 more trips to Bay Area roadways. Each weekday, BART carries 150,000 transbay trips. During peak commutes, BART carries as many trips as the Bay Bridge.

Vote YES on Measure AA to make critical earthquake safety improvements. Earthquakes are inevitable in the Bay Area. Measure AA will ensure BART is prepared.

Vote YES on Measure AA to protect the Bay Area's investment in BART. Engineering experts say a major earthquake on the Hayward fault, for example, would dramatically affect BART's ability to transport commuters for up to 21⁄2 years. BART's estimated value is conservatively $15 billion + 15 times the cost of Measure AA.

Measure AA will reduce damage to the system, save billions in repair costs and help BART get the region moving again, while highway commuters contend with freeway and bridge reconstruction.

Measure AA protects your tax dollars. It is an earthquake insurance policy for the entire Bay Area. It will allow state-of-the-art advances in earthquake safety technology and construction techniques to increase safety, save money and reduce gridlock after a major quake.

Vote Yes on Measure AA.

California Seismic Safety Commission L. Thomas Tobin, Former Executive Director

Earthquake Engineering Research Institute Keith Knudsen, President

Charles C. Plummer, Sheriff

East Bay League of Conservation Voters Ruth C. Abbe

Bay Area Rapid Transit District Board James Fang, President

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Earthquake safety, rapid service recovery, and repair-cost savings should be priorities for BART PASSENGERS, too + including tourists and other riders from outside BART's District area! Yet Measure AA demands more tax dollars just from property owners (and indirectly, renters) + BART riders or not + in San Francisco, Alameda County, and Contra Costa County only.

  • Presuming BART's updated seismic studies to be valid, responsible budgeting + small passenger-fare surcharges on 91,300,000 current passenger trips annually could fund seismic retrofits. Bart itself says fares "have increased less than the rate of inflation since 1997."

  • Taxes and bridge tolls funded BART's construction. Property and sales taxes still fund over 40% of every BART ticket! (Actual: 41.7% of BART's $461 Million operating budget)

  • In 32 years, earthquakes haven't caused significant BART interruptions. But strikes by BART's richly compensated employees have + 6 days in 1997, 3 months in 1979.

  • During 1989's Loma Prieta quake, BART engineers reported, "All BART facilities performed well," having been constructed "to a higher level of seismic resistance than prevalent practice." Transbay Tube passengers "didn't even sense there had been a major earthquake."

  • Seeing this ballot's relentless hit parade of new tax schemes, voters should challenge BART's large public-fund expenditures, beginning last July, to promote Measure AA.

Anticipating similarly cozy special-interest funding of BART's Measure AA campaign, we hope you'll join our grassroots effort, and...

Vote NO on AA

More information:, (800) 947-ACCT

City Councilman, Antioch Arne Simonsen

Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods (for identification only) Barbara R. Mescunas, President

Concord Association of Taxpayers Marla J. Kaste, Co-Founder

Community Activist, Richmond Mary Lopez

Citizens Opposing Unreasonable New Taxes, San Francisco Elsa Cheung, Chairwoman

As the Oakland Tribune warned in 2002: "Bay Area residents and commuters be aware. BART is setting its sights on our pocketbooks." Now, BART again seeks taxpayer subsidies, anticipated principal + interest cost = $2.1 Billion.

  • In 2001, BART "knuckled under to union demands in a ridiculous contract" (Contra Costa Times, 8/5/02). The result? Anticipated 2005 total compensation costs averaging $93,091 annually, for 3329 employees + with new contract negotiations next spring.

  • By May 2002, BART's general manager, facing predictable deficits, reported having "to defer many new projects... including system rehabilitation... and seismic improvement" (FY 2003 Preliminary Budget).

  • Two months later, BART's bureaucrats rolled out a large seismic improvement bond measure, expected to cost Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco County taxpayers $2.2 Billion (principal + interest) if passed. Fortunately, it failed.

  • As the Times editorial continued: [BART,] "You have increased fares... cut back services... laid off... union workers because of the contract you signed...." (Expect Voter Backlash," 8/5/02).

  • New bridge-toll increases, paid mostly by commuters who seldom ride BART, will hand BART $389,000,000 + including $143,000,000 toward Transbay Tube seismic retrofits. BART-tax promoters advertise Measure AA's "minor cost." But notice:

  • Taxes already consume half the next dollar earned by many Bay Area families. That happened bit by bit.

  • So now, "Americans spend more money per capita on taxes ($10,447) than on food ($2,713), clothing ($1,436), and shelter ($5,913) combined" (Tax Facts," San Francisco Chronicle, 3/27/02).

  • Taxpayers cannot continue financing every out-of-control program, or imagined solutions to every contingency. Regarding BART's demands, the Tribune wisely advised "looking at alternatives that include paybacks of funds Californians have already sent to Washington."



Alliance of Contra Costa Taxpayers Kenneth E. Hambrick, Chairman

Citizens for Responsible Government Kenneth Arras, Chairman

Save El Sobrante Marilynne Mellander, Coordinator

East Bay Libertarian Party Curt Cornell, Chair

Waste Watchers Inc. Kenneth D. Steadman, President

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Measure AA is a good deal for taxpayers. It makes necessary safety improvements as soon as possible, before costs go up. By strengthening the BART system now, we will avoid far greater rebuilding costs after an earthquake.

Measure AA will speed BART back into service while highways and bridges are being reconstructed. It will save lives, maintain economic vitality, and avoid gridlock. And an independent oversight committee will protect taxpayers' investment.

"BART kept the Bay Area moving after the 1989 earthquake," says A. Lee Blitch, president and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. "Next time, we need BART back quickly to transport safety workers, to get people to their jobs and to help the Bay Area recover faster."

Earthquake safety technology has advanced rapidly in the 15 years since the Loma Prieta quake. The BART system is getting older. Experienced engineers and scientists say strengthening the BART system will work. Measure AA will increase safety, reduce damage, save money and keep the Bay Area moving.

BART carries 45% of peak transbay traffic. In Alameda County, 20 million trips a year are on BART. In Contra Costa County, 50% of all transit rides are on BART. Even people who don't use BART enjoy the benefits. Without BART, commute times would double or more. The Bay Area can no longer function without BART.

Earthquakes are a very real problem for the Bay Area. When a reasonable solution is presented to a very real problem, we should vote for it.

Vote Yes on Measure AA.

Alameda County Fire Department William J. McCammon, Fire Chief

Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center Jack P. Moehle, Ph.D, P.E, Director

Bay Area Council Jim Wunderman, President & CEO

Virginia Hamrick, Rossmoore Homeowner

Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Joseph J. Haraburda, President & CEO

Tax Rate Statement from Controller/Treasurer San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District
An election will be held in the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (the "District" or "BART") on November 2, 2004, to authorize the sale of not to exceed $980 million in general obligation bonds of the District to strengthen, seismically retrofit, improve and replace BART facilities, including the Transbay Tube, serving Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties. If the bonds are approved, the District expects to sell the bonds in four series over time. Principal and interest on the bonds will be payable from the proceeds of tax levies made upon the taxable property in the District. The following information is provided in compliance with Section 9400-9404 of the Elections Code of the State of California.

1. The best estimate of the tax which would be required to be levied to fund this bond issue during the first fiscal year after the sale of the first series of bonds, based on estimated assessed valuations available at the time of filing of this statement, is $.00485 per $100 ($4.85 per $100,000) of assessed valuation in fiscal year 2005-2006.

2. The best estimate of the tax which would be required to be levied to fund this bond issue during the first fiscal year after the sale of the last series of bonds, based on estimated assessed valuations available at the time of filing of this statement, is $.01279 per $100 ($12.79 per $100,000) of assessed valuation in fiscal year 2014-2015.

3. The best estimate of the highest tax rate which would be required to be levied to fund this bond issue, based on estimated assessed valuations available at the time of filing of this statement, is $.01279 per $100 ($12.79 per $100,000) of assessed valuation in fiscal year 2014-2015.

Attention of all voters is directed to the fact that the foregoing information is based upon the District's projections and estimates only, which are not binding upon the District. The actual tax rates and the years in which they will apply may vary from those presently estimated, due to variations from these estimates in the timing of bond sales, the amount of bonds sold at any given sale, market interest rates at the time of each bond sale, and actual assessed valuations over the term of repayment of the bonds. The actual dates of sale of said bonds and the amount sold at any given time will be governed by the needs of the District and other factors. The actual interest rates at which the bonds will be sold will depend on the bond market at the time of each sale. Actual future assessed valuation will depend upon the amount and value of taxable property within the District as determined in the annual assessment and the equalization process.


Controller/Treasurer San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District

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Created: December 15, 2004 13:36 PST
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