Opinion: Here’s Hoping the New BART Inspector General Can Help Get the Agency Back on Track

BART is a financial and operational mess, and its new inspector general has a slew of major issues to tackle.

1 minute read

July 20, 2019, 11:00 AM PDT

By Camille Fink

BART Station

Eric Fischer / Flickr

The Bay Area Rapid Transit agency is facing a long list of fiscal and operational issues, and the first BART inspector general, Harriet Richardson, has her work cut out for her, says Daniel Borenstein. "BART officials never wanted an inspector general auditing and investigating their work. But the new position was forced on them as part of a legislative deal under which BART receives $1.1 billion from Bay Area bridge toll increases."

The agency is facing a fiscal crisis that is partly the result of decreasing ridership and labor agreements that Borenstein argues favored BART labor unions rather than taxpayers and riders. He says the agency was also not forthcoming about a $3.5 billion bond measure for capital replacement. "A bend-the-rules and win-at-any-cost mentality turned publicly funded staff members into political operatives."

Borenstein hopes that Richardson can guide the agency down the path of fiscal and operational responsibility without interference from the BART board. "The strength of her backbone and the willingness of BART directors to listen to her will be key to ensuring that clean, safe trains run on time at a price riders and taxpayers can afford."

Thursday, July 11, 2019 in The Mercury News

Large blank mall building with only two cars in large parking lot.

Pennsylvania Mall Conversion Bill Passes House

If passed, the bill would promote the adaptive reuse of defunct commercial buildings.

April 18, 2024 - Central Penn Business Journal

Street scene in Greenwich Village, New York City with people walking through busy intersection and new WTC tower in background.

Planning for Accessibility: Proximity is More Important than Mobility

Accessibility-based planning minimizes the distance that people must travel to reach desired services and activities. Measured this way, increased density can provide more total benefits than increased speeds.

April 14, 2024 - Todd Litman

Rendering of wildlife crossing over 101 freeway in Los Angeles County.

World's Largest Wildlife Overpass In the Works in Los Angeles County

Caltrans will soon close half of the 101 Freeway in order to continue construction of the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing near Agoura Hills in Los Angeles County.

April 15, 2024 - LAist

View of downtown Seattle with Space Needle and mountains in background

Eviction Looms for Low-Income Tenants as Rent Debt Rises

Nonprofit housing operators across the country face almost $10 billion in rent debt.

April 23 - The Seattle Times

Rendering of Brightline West train passing through Southern California desert

Brightline West Breaks Ground

The high-speed rail line will link Las Vegas and the Los Angeles area.

April 23 - KTLA

Aerial view of gold state capitol dome in Denver, Colorado and Denver skyline.

Colorado Bans No-Fault Evictions

In most cases, landlords must provide a just cause for evicting tenants.

April 23 - Colorado Politics

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.