SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – BART officials said Wednesday climate change and sea level rise will pose a growing threat to the transit system in the coming decades.
The ailing transport company is trying to find money to combat the long-term but looming threat.
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“One of the predictions is that by mid-century we might see tides a foot higher than they are now. So that’s 2050, ”said BART spokesman Jim Allison.
BART engineers say sea level rise could have a number of potential effects. For example, the Embarcadero train station in San Francisco could occasionally be inundated by floods.
Other stations could be threatened by rising groundwater, which would strain the existing pumps and the aging infrastructure of the system.
“The thing for me is that we’re at the height of technology and innovation in the Bay Area, but this is an old system that is really shabby,” said BART driver Jason Caballero.
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BART has identified many of the potential problem areas, but the agency relies on injections of money from the federal government just to keep trains running.
“The devastating effects of the pandemic and the dramatic decrease in the number of passengers paying for their tickets have really turned our funding plan upside down,” Allison said.
BART drivers say they understand the transportation company’s financial plight but are concerned about the long-term costs of inaction.
“It might be better to say, ‘Let’s pretend it’ll happen in 10 years.’ And what could the BART system do in 10 years to avoid being caught wading in the BART system with pants down and knee-deep water? ”Asked rider Bianca Espinoza.
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BART officials noted that several vulnerable stations are connected to other important pieces of infrastructure in the Bay Area, such as the airports in San Francisco and Oakland. Any plan to mitigate this impact would necessarily have to be regional and collaborative.