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Gov. Brown's action keeps BART rolling at least another week

Gov. Jerry Brown's late-hour decision to step into the Bay Area transit dispute will keep the trains rolling for at least another week, and possibly longer.

Late Sunday, Brown appointed a board to investigate the disagreement and report back to him in seven days.

By invoking a state law that allows the governor to step into matters affecting public health and safety, Brown’s action also prohibits a walkout or lockout while the board prepares its report.

Once Brown has the report in hand, the law allows him to ask a judge to order a 60-day cooling-off period.

The brinkmanship became necessary Sunday night as negotiations continued toward the midnight deadline, and with both sides apparently far apart, BART officials asked Brown to intervene.

BART trains carry an estimated 400,000 passengers each day, and emergency measures such as additional bus and ferry service and increased reliance on casual carpooling did little to cut the sting of a 4 1/2-day strike that severely hampered the region in early July.

San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee welcomed Brown’s decision, saying he hoped it would help the union and management reach an agreement.

“I applaud Gov. Brown for his decisive action so that the people of the Bay Area will not endure a debilitating BART strike on Monday,” Lee said.

Meanwhile, state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) said he would look into launching an investigation that could prevent future strikes.

"Another prolonged strike could be devastating for the commuters who rely upon BART every day,” he said.

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