BART to San Jose gets a federal funding boost

BART’s much-anticipated expansion into downtown San Jose just got thrown into the fast lane Wednesday, with the announcement that the project will be receiving $125 million in federal funds.

The Federal Transit Administration announced its decision to fund Phase II of the Valley Transit Authority’s plan to take BART into Silicon Valley on Wednesday. This phase will add four more BART stations to the San Jose area, on top of the Berryessa and Milpitas stations, which are set to open by the end of this year.

The $125 million will help “fast track [Phase II’s] funding process by more than 14 months,” according to a press release from the VTA.

“We are pleased to announce this $125 million funding allocation to VTA for the second phase of the BART extension, and to work with VTA as part of FTA’s Expedited Project Delivery Pilot Program, an initiative aimed at streamlining the delivery of transit projects,” said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams in a statement.

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The VTA is still expected to come up with its share of money in order to receive federal funding. The transit agency will need to contribute “at least 75 percent of the project cost” on its own, through local, state and non-federal funding, the VTA and FTA announcements noted, including a public-private partnership. A number of measures passed by Santa Clara County, including Measure A in 2000, Measure B in 2008 and 2016, and Regional Measure 3 (passed by the nine Bay Area counties) will help support VTA’s portion of the project funding.

The $125 million grant will be given to the VTA “once it meets all program requirements needed to proceed to a construction grant agreement,” the FTA said.

The new extension will add 6.5 miles of track with stations set to connect key areas of the South Bay; there’s the Alum Rock/28th Street Station, Downtown San Jose Station, Diridon Station and the Santa Clara Station. (See the map above to see the locations of both Phase I and Phase II stations, along with a detailed map of the San Jose and Santa Clara stations.)

The funding is coming out of the FTA’s Expedited Project Delivery Pilot Program and is the first transit project nationwide to be selected. Early estimates from VTA are aiming for construction to last from 2022-2026, with a 2026 debut, according to its site.

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