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Funds raised through Bay Area Rapid Transit's (BART) proposed $3.5 billion general obligation bond measure would be spent only on system improvements and not wages or operating expenses, BART General Manager Grace Crunican said in a statement yesterday.The statement was issued following a recent editorial in the East Bay Times calling the bond measure a "bait-and-switch scheme" that could indirectly funnel as much as $1.2 billion toward labor costs.In the editorial, columnist Daniel Borenstein said that the agency has preserved the option to use about a third of the proceeds for "essentially backfilling the district's operation budget."However, Crunican emphasized that "not one penny, under any circumstance, can or will be used to pay for operating expenses, salaries, or benefits,""To suggest we would use the money for salaries and benefits directly or 'indirectly' is flat out wrong," Crunican added. "Cutting spending from the Capital Investment Plan in order to increase salaries would undo decades of financial projections and do immense damage to BART's capacity to improve in the future."BART also has demonstrated fiscal responsibility by transferring operating funds to pay for its needs, said Crunican, adding that the agency has allocated more than $500 million toward reinvestment projects. If the bond measure passes in November, it would raise money for a host of repair projects, including replacing 90 miles of worn track and power cables, and modernizing older equipment and systems.