BART’s long-awaited extension south to San Jose formally got under way today, as political and transportation leaders at the federal, state and local levels participated in an official groundbreaking ceremony in East San Jose, near the future Berryessa station. Joined by some 450 people who gathered to witness the historic milestone, the dignitaries on hand included:
- Dianne Feinstein, United States Senator
- Norman Mineta, Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation
- Peter Rogoff, FTA Administrator
- Zoe Lofgren, United States Congresswoman
- Michael Honda, United States Congressman
- Gray Davis, California Governor (ret.)
- James Beall Jr., California State Assemblymember
- Ken Yeager, Santa Clara County Supervisor
- Scott Haggerty, Alameda County Supervisor
- Tom Blalock, BART Board of Directors
- Chuck Reed, City of San Jose Mayor
- Pete McHugh, City of Milpitas Vice Mayor
- Carl Guardino, President and CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group
- Michael T. Burns, VTA General Manager
Speaking for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), which is managing the extension project, Santa Clara County Supervisor and VTA Board Chairman Ken Yeager said “Silicon Valley residents are eager for BART expansion. As gas prices soar and traffic congestion increases, commuters need more transit options.”
“The BART extension is a key investment in our transportation infrastructure that will benefit our residents and encourage companies to keep and add jobs in the region,” added Chuck Reed, Mayor of San Jose.
The 10-mile BART Silicon Valley Berryessa extension is a 10-mile, two station project planned for completion in 2016, with passenger service slated for 2018 following a period of system-readiness testing by BART. Initial construction activities include relocating utilities and preparing the future station areas for construction. Other current and near-term work includes construction at major intersections that the BART system will cross. Installing the tracks for BART will be one of the last construction activities.
Once train service begins, the 10-mile Berryessa Extension will serve 23,000 average daily passengers in its opening year, providing a transit alternative to the highly congested Interstate 680 and Interstate 880 corridors. It is estimated that a total of 18,000 direct and indirect jobs will be attributed to the project, with an average of 2,500 during the five busiest years of construction. The extension will enhance regional connectivity, linking Santa Clara County to Oakland and San Francisco, and increase access into and out of the county that will be significant in supporting future job and population growth.
The first major design and construction contract, valued at $772 million for the line, track, systems and stations, was awarded in December of 2011 to Skanska-Shimmick-Herzog, a joint venture. Their proposal projected an accelerated construction schedule for the project that may result in passenger service sooner than 2018.
Last month, VTA received a $900 million grant commitment from the Federal Transit Administration for the BART Silicon Valley Berryessa Extension Project (see story), along with the first $100 million allocation. The cost of the project is approximately $2.3 billion, which will be funded through $900 million in federal assistance, $251 million in state funding and $1.179 billion from the Measure A sales tax.
In November 2000, a package of transit improvements known as Measure A was overwhelmingly approved by a 70.3% majority vote in Santa Clara County, authorizing a 30-year, 1/2 cent sales tax to construct the largest infrastructure project in Silicon Valley. Eight years later, county residents passed a 1/8 cent sales tax to fund the operating and maintenance costs of the BART Extension.
The historic groundbreaking event symbolizes the culmination of all the major milestones to date on the largest public works project in Santa Clara County’s history.
BART Silicon Valley
The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Silicon Valley Project is a 16-mile extension of the existing BART system to San Jose, Milpitas and Santa Clara, which will be delivered through a phased approach. The first phase, the Berryessa Extension, is a 10-mile, two-station extension, beginning in Fremont south of the future BART Warm Springs Station and proceeding in the former Union Pacific Railroad right-of-way through Milpitas, the location of the first station, and then to the Berryessa area of north San Jose, at the second station. VTA continues project development activities for the second 6-mile phase of the project that includes a 5.1 mile-long subway tunnel through downtown San Jose, and ends at grade in Santa Clara near the Caltrain Station. Construction on the second phase of the project will commence as additional funding is secured.
For more information about BART Silicon Valley, please contact VTA Community Outreach at (408) 934-2662, (TTY only) (408) 321-2330, or visit www.vta.org/bart.