Published October 19th, 2016
Debora Allen, Gail Murray Square Off in District 1 BART Race
By Nick Marnell
A large portion of Lamorinda resides in District 3 of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system, with only a sliver of Lafayette included in District 1. But within that sliver lies the Lafayette BART station. The two candidates for the District 1 board seat explain what they will do for the system's Lafayette customers.

"The Lafayette BART station will see a transformation next year with contracts for two projects now being finalized," said incumbent Gail Murray, who outlined her accomplishments. The parking lots will be repaved, new shade trees will be planted in the larger lot and along an improved sidewalk, and access will be reconfigured to better improve routing for all vehicles. Solar panels will be installed in more than 400 spaces in the northeast parking lot, Murray said, providing shaded parking and saving energy.

One of the first projects Murray promoted when she was first elected to the BART board was construction of the ramp that connects the south entrance to the Lafayette station with downtown Lafayette. "At that time, people with mobility challenges had to travel out of their way from downtown along Mt. Diablo Boulevard to Happy Valley Road to the north entrance to BART, roughly twice the distance they now do," Murray said.

New train cars will be soon arriving to the Pittsburg-Bay Point line, Murray said. The cars will be put into service next spring.

Debora Allen, a director with the Contra Costa County Employees' Retirement Association, made her case as the challenger.

"The poor condition of our stations, the filthy trains and escalators that continually break down and lack of adequate public safety protection are a direct result of many years of financial mismanagement of the BART agency by its board of directors," said Allen, who referenced a projected $477 million deficit in the district operating budget over the next 10 years.

She stressed her experience in financial management and as a business owner to bring the discipline and expertise needed to demand fiscal accountability of the BART management, "something my opponent has failed to do over her last 12 years in office," Allen said. "I will make the tough decisions, independent of the construction and employee unions' influence. Once the financial picture improves, the satisfaction of riders with the experience on BART will improve."

Allen listed public safety, increased parking and equipment maintenance among her top priorities for improvement as District 1 director.

BART directors earn $1,525 per month and enjoy free transportation on the system.

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