bart_generic.jpgTwo new BART directors were sworn in today, and the BART board also elected a new president and vice president.

Zakhary Mallett, who represents District 7, has the distinction of having two firsts: The 25-year-old El Sobrante man is believed to be the youngest director in BART’s history and is the first East Bay resident to represent the district.

The snakelike district includes parts of San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa counties and encompasses at least part of a number of cities including Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville, Albany, El Cerrito, Richmond and Pinole.

Until now, the district has always been represented by a San Francisco resident.

Mallett said one of his priorities is to explore the feasibility of building a new BART station in the East Bay that would serve the cities of San Pablo, Pinole and Hercules and relieve traffic on the congested Interstate Highway 80 corridor.

He said he also wants to make sure that the BART system is “in a state of good repair” so that it can continue to meet the growing demand for its service.

Rebecca Saltzman, a transportation and environmental advocate who represents District 3 — which includes parts of Oakland, Berkeley, Orinda, Lafayette and other cities–said her top priority also is keeping BART running smoothly.

After Mallett and Saltzman were sworn in, the board elected director Tom Radulovich of San Francisco as its president and Joel Keller of Brentwood to be its new vice president.

Keller said BART needs to make sure it raises enough money to pay for its long-term capital needs, which he said are at least $7.5 billion.

He said one way to accomplish that goal is to get state leaders to lower the two-thirds threshold currently needed to pass bond measures that benefit transit agencies and other governmental entities.

“The two-thirds threshold is such a high burden that even balanced measures have a tough time passing,” Keller said.

He said the threshold should be lowered to as low as 51 percent.

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

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