The BART story began in 1946. It began not by governmental fiat, but as a concept gradually evolving at informal gatherings of business and civic leaders on both sides of the San Francisco Bay. Facing a heavy post-war migration to the area and its consequent automobile boom, these people discussed ways of easing the mounting congestion that was clogging the bridges spanning the Bay. In 1947, a joint Army-Navy review Board concluded that another connecting link between San Francisco and Oakland would be needed in the years ahead to prevent intolerable congestion on the Bay Bridge. The link? An underwater tube devoted exclusively to high-speed electric trains. Since 1911, visionaries had periodically brought up this Jules Verne concept. But now, pressure for a traffic solution increased with the population. In 1951, the State Legislature created the 26-member San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit Commission, comprised of representatives from each of the nine counties which touch the Bay. The Commission's charge was to study the Bay Area's long range transportation needs in the context of environmental problems and then recommend the best solution.
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