Contact: Paul Griffo
HAYWARD, Calif. – Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff today got a first-hand look at what it takes to maintain and repair hundreds of rail cars that are the backbone of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) rail system. The BART system carries more than 350,000 passengers a day on rail cars that are, on average, nearly 35 years old, making it one of the oldest fleets in the nation. The Hayward maintenance yard, one of BART’s original repair facilities, is teeming with workers who help ensure the aging equipment is safe and reliable.
“With transit ridership at its highest level in five years, the Obama Administration understands the value and importance of continuing to invest in commuter and light rail systems, buses, streetcars and other public transit options,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “But it’s equally important to preserve and maintain the transit infrastructure we’ve already built, to keep it safe and dependable for millions who take transit today and in the future.”
One of the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) top priorities is to balance investments in new transit systems with the need to reinvest in legacy systems. Nationwide, there is an estimated $78 billion backlog in critical rail transit repair needs in cities such as New York, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Chicago, as well as smaller towns and suburbs nationwide. The San Francisco Bay Area alone faces a $4 billion to $6 billion backlog on repairs and upgrades needed now. FTA has committed more than $2.1 billion in discretionary funds over three years for more than 300 projects to replace or rehabilitate our aging transit infrastructure.
“The Hayward maintenance yard is where transit’s real future must begin–with preserving and protecting the legacy systems we’ve already built,” Rogoff said. “Only by reinvesting in what we have, and by committing to preserve the integrity of the entire system, end to end, can we hope to attract a new generation of riders who want to take transit that’s reliable and desirable.”
Administrator Rogoff called on Congress to pass a good, multi-year transportation bill with reliable funding sources to ensure that our nation can make the transportation investments we need for today and tomorrow.
“It’s time to put aside partisan posturing, end the gridlock, and do what’s right for the American people,” Administrator Rogoff added.