Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
Get the facts before you vote.
Brought to you by
League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
California State Library@CAStateLibrary
Tuesday November 8, 2016 — California General Election
Invest in unbiased information

With your support, we can reach and inform more voters.

Donate now to spread the word.

Special District

San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District
Measure RR Bond Measure - 2/3 Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results


994,140 votes yes (70.5%)

415,366 votes no (29.5%)

100% of precincts reporting (1,812/1,812).

481,355 ballots counted.

To keep BART safe; prevent accidents/breakdowns/delays; relieve overcrowding; reduce traffic congestion/pollution; improve earthquake safety and access for seniors/disabled by replacing and upgrading 90 miles of severely worn tracks; tunnels damaged by water intrusion; 44-year-old train control systems; and other deteriorating infrastructure, shall the Bay Area Rapid Transit District issue $3.5 billion of bonds for acquisition or improvement of real property subject to independent oversight and annual audits?

What is this proposal?

Details — Official information

Impartial analysis / Proposal


Measure RR, a San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (“District”) bond measure, seeks voter approval to authorize the District to issue and sell bonds of up to $3.5 billion dollars in general obligation bonds. The interest rate on each series shall not exceed the maximum rate permitted by law. The purpose of the bonds is to finance the projects as specified in the measure.


 Pursuant to California Constitution Section 1 of Article XIIIA and California Public Utilities Code Section 29158, et seq., this measure will become effective upon the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the votes cast by voters voting on this measure.  This measure provides that the bond proceeds will fund projects throughout the District’s transit system that include, among others, replacing and upgrading the system’s tracks, tunnels, and train control systems. Proceeds may not be used for any other purpose.


 If two-thirds of those who vote on the measure vote “yes”, the District will be authorized to issue bonds in the amount noted above. Approval of this measure will authorize a levy on the assessed value of taxable property within the District by an amount needed to pay the principal and interest on these bonds in each year that the bonds are outstanding.


 The Tax Rate Statement for this measure in this sample ballot pamphlet reflects the District’s best estimates, based upon currently available data and projections, of the property tax rates required to service the bonds.  The District expects to issue the bonds in ten series. The best estimate of the tax rate required to be levied to fund the bonds during the first fiscal year after the sale of the first series of bonds is $0.00202 per $100 ($2.02 per $100,000) of assessed valuation in FY 2017-2018.  The best estimate of the tax rate required to be levied to fund the bonds during the first fiscal year after the sale of the last series of bonds is $ 0. 01749 per $100  ($17.49 per $100,000) of assessed valuation in FY 2035-2036. The best estimate of the highest tax rate required to be levied to fund the bonds is  $0.01749 per $100 ($17.49 per $100,000) of assessed valuation in FY 2035-2036. The best estimate of total debt service, including principal and interest, if all the bonds are issued and sold is $ 6,830,382,000.


 A Bond Oversight Committee will provide independent oversight over the expenditure of the funds from the sale of the bonds and ensure that the funds are expended as authorized in the measure. If two-thirds of those voting on this measure do not vote for approval, the measure will fail and the District will not be authorized to issue the bonds. This measure is placed on the ballot by the governing board of the District.




County Counsel

The above statement is an impartial analysis of Measure RR. If you desire a copy of the ordinance or measure, please call the District Secretary’s office at (510) 464-6080 and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you. You may also access the full text of the measure on the District’s Web site at the following Web site address (

Tax rate

 An election will be held in the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (the "District" or "BART") on November 8,2016, to authorize the sale of not to exceed $3.50 billion in general obligation bonds of the District to invest in the BART Safety, Reliability and Traffic Relief Program to repair and replace critical infrastructure, prevent accidents, breakdowns and delays, relieve overcrowding, reduce traffic congestion and pollution, improve earthquake safety and expand  safe access into  BART stations, including for seniors and persons with disability. If the bonds are approved, the District expects to sell the bonds in ten series over time. Principal and interest on the bonds will be payable from the proceeds of taxes levied 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  $.00202 per $100($2.02 per $100,000) of assessed valuation in fiscal year 2017-2018.


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 $.01749 per $100 ($17.49 per $100,000) of assessed valuation in fiscal year 2035-2036.



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 $.01749 per $100 ($17.49 per $100,000) of assessed valuation in fiscal year 2035-2036.



4.     The best estimate of the total debt service, including the principal and interest, that would be required to be repaid if all of the bonds are issued and sold is $6,830,382,000.


Property owners should note that the estimated tax rates are based on the ASSESSED VALUE of taxable property in the District as shown on the respective County's official tax rolls, not on the property's market value. Property owners should consult their own property tax bills to determine their property's assessed value and any applicable tax exemptions.


 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 estimates provided herein do not account for the taxes levied to pay or bonds issued by the District pursuant to prior authorizations. 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, the credit quality of the District at the time each issue is sold, and actual assessed valuations over the term of repayment of the bonds among other factors. 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.



Dated: June 9, 2016



San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District


s/ Rosemary V. Poblete


Published Arguments — Arguments for and against

Arguments FOR


BART is the backbone of Bay Area transportation. A system that originally carried 100,000 people per week now serves roughly 430,000 riders per day, and ridership is expected to increase 75% by 2040. However, the 44-year-old system is showing its age. It is time to reinvest to keep BART safe and reliable, reduce crowding, keep cars off the road, and protect the environment.


 Measure RR, developed with community and expert input, is a detailed plan to keep BART safe and reliable. Funds must be used on specific programs to improve BART’s current infrastructure. Measure RR authorizes BART to:


  • replace 90 miles of rails that have been severely worn down over 44 years of use;
  • repair tunnel walls damaged by water;
  • modernize BART’s 1960s-era electrical infrastructure;
  • enhance BART’s ability to withstand an earthquake;
  • prevent breakdowns and delays by replacing antiquated train control systems; and
  • increase BART’s capacity, which will relieve Bay Area traffic and reduce air pollution caused by cars.


 The plan also includes funding to improve BART stations by:


  • ensuring better access for seniors and people with disabilities,
  • improving bus connections and secure bicycle parking
  • replacing old escalators and elevators, and
  • protecting riders’ personal safety with improved lighting and security.


 Please read the full plan at


 Measure RR has strong accountability measures. All expenditures are subject to an annual audit by an independent oversight committee of engineers, auditors, and other community members. Funds can only be used for infrastructure improvements, and cannot be used for operating expenses. Every dollar from Measure RR will be invested in the BART system, and cannot be taken by the State or Federal government.


 BART riders, transportation and safety engineers from UC Berkeley and private industry, business leaders, environmentalists, and elected officials throughout the Bay Area agree: vote YES on Measure RR.




Offer Grembek –Transportation Safety Engineer and Co-Director, UC Berkeley Safe Transportation Research and Education Center


Luis Amezcua –Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter, Executive Committee Member


Thea Selby –35-year BART rider and San Francisco Transit Riders Board Chair


Alan B. Smith –BART Accessibility Task Force Board Chair

Jim Wunderman –President and CEO, Bay Area Council –the Voice of Bay Area Business

Arguments AGAINST


BART makes reckless decisions.


 BART should be making regular repairs; and it should be saving enough money to replace train cars. Instead, BART made its transit employees among the highest-paid in the nation.


“[J]ust as we know our automobiles won’t run forever, BART officials knew their cars wouldn’t either. Yet they failed for decades to plan and save for it, while handing out overly generous employee compensation.”


                                                                                 Oakland Tribune, 3/27/16


 BART expects voters to fund their madness.




“[U]p to $1.2 billion from the November bond measure could essentially backfill labor costs instead of paying for promised capital improvements.”


                                                   East Bay Times, 8/14/16


 BART needs a wake-up call.


 It’s time for BART to:



-Following the 2013 strikes, BART boosted pay and maintained platinum benefits.

-These bad labor contracts were extended through 2021 at a cost of $77million.

-BART’s pay and benefits are unaffordable.


-BART already owes $1.3 billion in long-term debt.

-BART owes hundreds of millions in employee benefit promises for which little is saved.

-BART faces budget short falls of $477million over the next decade.

-Measure RR would raise taxes; cost taxpayers about $7 billion, including interest; and wouldn’t be fully repaid until 2065, in 48 years.


-Master the fundamentals before expanding the BART system.

-BART released a 10-year capital rebuilding plan in 2014. It’s already out of date.

-BART needs to stop talking about rebuilding and actually start rebuilding.




BART has reached the end of the line.

                                           “BART must cut before seeking more tax funds.”


                                                                                                Contra Costa Times, 2/8/16




Stop this tax increase! Vote NO on Measure RR!




Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy –David Kersten, President


Libertarian Party of San Francisco –Aubrey Freeman, Chair


Alliance of Contra Costa Taxpayers –Kenneth Hambrick, Chairman


Linda Harmeson –IT Professional; Alameda County resident

Deborah Davidson –Legal Secretary; Alameda County resident; Daily BART Commuter

Replies to Arguments FOR


BART doesn’t deserve your trust.


Measure RR is a 48-year property tax increase. We don’t know exactly how big the tax will be; it’s based on many factors. Interest rates will go up, property values will go down. The tax rate estimates are just guesses because, over 48 years, many things will change.

One thing we know for certain: Once voters say yes, BART can charge any tax rate necessary to repay bond debt. The real tax rate will be whatever it takes.


BART has proven that it values popularity more than responsibility. While BART makes big promises, it refuses to save for them.


  • Last year BART collected over $883 million in rider fares, parking fees, sales taxes, property taxes, investment earnings and state and federal subsidies. Yet BART hasn’t properly maintained its systems.
  • BART chooses platinum labor contracts and unprofitable expansion projects over saving money to replace train cars and other equipment.



Jon Coupal, President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association says:


BART has proven itself absolutely untrustworthy when it comes to fiscal responsibility. It has not clearly defined its true capital needs and, even worse, in a bait-and-switch scheme, as much as $1.2 billion from Measure RR bond money could indirectly fund District labor costs.”


 BART’s 2016/17 budget pamphlet shows annual compensation, including benefits, averages $131,641 per employee.


BART isn’t underfunded; BART is reckless.



Measure RR will not make BART responsible. It will simply give it more money to be irresponsible with.






s/ Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy –David Kersten, President


s/ Alliance of Contra Costa Taxpayers –Kenneth Hambrick, Chairman


s/ Tom Canaday –San Francisco resident; Engineer; Frequent BART Rider


s/ Arne Simonsen –Former Councilmember, City of Antioch

s/ Susan L. Pricco –Hercules resident; Retired Court Clerk, Contra Costa County Superior Court

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

Our opponents make our point for us: BART needs to start rebuilding. BART will invest $584million of this year’s capital budget on system reinvestment, but that funding alone is not enough to meet urgent safety needs. To perform critical repairs to keep BART safe and reliable, we need Measure RR.

 Transportation and rail safety experts from UC Berkeley and private industry have studied the Measure RR program plan. They endorse Measure RR because it focuses on the core BART system by replacing and modernizing:

  • 90 miles of worn-down rail
  • a failing electrical network,
  • a 1960’s-era traffic control system,
  • tunnels damaged by water.

 Because of its strong accountability safeguards, Measure RR is endorsed by the Bay Area League of Women Voters and business organizations like the Bay Area Council, the Oakland and San Francisco Chambers of Commerce and Contra Costa County’s East Bay Leadership Council. Measure RR must fund infrastructure –not a single penny can be used for operations expenses. Measure RR spending will be subject to annual audits. Additionally, an independent bond oversight committee comprised of safety engineers, certified accountants, and financial managers will ensure accountability and public transparency.

 When BART breaks, the Bay Area waits. Measure RR is essential for maintaining BART’s safe track record, and for increasing BART’s capacity in order to relieve highway gridlock.

Join transportation safety experts, the Sierra Club, the Bay Area League of Women Voters, small businesses owners, and elected leaders across the Bay Area.

Vote YES on Measure RR to keep BART safe and reliable, increase BART capacity and relieve traffic congestion. 

s/ Lisa Nielson -Rail Safety Officer

s/ Sylvia Stadmire –Board Member, United Seniors of Alameda County

s/ Gabriel Metcalf –President and CEO, San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR)

s/ Renee Rivera –Executive Director, Bike East Bay

s/ James F Bisso –Small Business Owner, 43-year BART Rider    

More information

Videos (1)

— October 20, 2016 League of Women Voters of Oakland
Pros & Cons of Measure RR - 3 Minute Video
Use tabs to select your choice. Use return to create a choice. You can access your choices by navigating to 'My Choices'.

Get the Easy Voter Guide for this measure in these languages

Who supports or opposes this measure?

Yes on Measure RR

Organizations (1)

Elected & Appointed Officials (1)

No on Measure RR

Organizations (1)

Elected & Appointed Officials (1)

Please share this site to help others research their voting choices.