Feds Give $125M to Fast-Track Silicon Valley BART Extension

BART’s long-awaited extension into downtown San Jose just got a huge boost with news that it’s entitled to $125 million from the federal government.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced Wednesday that it will direct the funds for Phase II of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA)-led project to extend the train line by 6.5 miles to the heart of Silicon Valley.

Four more BART stations are slated for the South Bay line in addition to the Berryessa and Milpitas stations slated to open later this year.

Local officials celebrated the news in a flurry of press releases and social media posts. San Jose’s chief elected official said the funding means the BART extension can now go “full speed ahead” on a project that’s been decades in the making.

“With the Berryessa station opening in the months ahead—and work to accelerate on the downtown San Jose extension—we look forward to connecting the Bay Area’s largest city to the rest of the region,” he wrote in a statement to reporters.

Carl Guardino—head of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG), which aggressively lobbied for the funding—called the FTA’s grant a “first of its kind” and one that underscores the strength of the relationship between local and federal transit agencies.

Guardino said the federal funds build on four local sales tax measures championed by SVLG to complete BART’s foray into the South Bay. Those four ballot initiatives—in 2000, 2008, 2016 and last year—generate more than $30 billion in local and regional funds, he said in a press release.

“This strong local-regional match then attracts, like a magnet, state and federal funds to build and operate such ambitious transportation improvements,” Guardino said.

BART’s Phase I will open for service by the year’s end and $100 million under budget, according to the SVLG. Phase II is set to start transporting riders by 2026 and, per Guardino, is one of the main reasons employers like Google and Adobe are interested in building around San Jose’s Diridon Station.

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto), who helped drive efforts to land $647 million in federal dollars for Caltrain electrification and $900 million for the Silicon Valley BART extension, called the latest windfall from the FTA a boon for the local economy.

“I’ve been a strong advocate of BART’s extension to Silicon Valley for over a decade,” she said. “The $125 million investment to connect BART with Caltrain in the South Bay will relieve traffic congestion and support the continued growth of our region’s economy.”

8 Comments

  1. Bart phase one is under budget and 2 years late. Maybe that’s why its two years late and can’t run on the tracks with the rest of BART?

  2. These small town puppets are jumping up and down celebrating BART coming downtown. Once again the blind politicians who embrace bad behavior and blight will not be disappointed. The amount of crime that will off load from the east bay will be staggering. San Jose continues to get what it asks for. The dismantling of our police department’s specialized units, detective bureau and patrol were only the flash point of the larger picture. How many residents are truly happy with crime and the condition of our streets. Downtown feels like a cesspool when I walk the sidewalks. The 211 train is coming to town! All aboard!!!!

    • > The amount of crime that will off load from the east bay will be staggering.

      I’ve always been told that the east bay is full of dumb people and the schools there are terrible.

      It would never occur to “da yoots” of the east bay to jump on a BART train to Silicon Valley and do smash and grabs in Apple stores or rob people of their wallets and their iPhones.

      They only do that stuff locally.

  3. Well at least I know my raised sales and gas taxes are doing more then buying all those brand new shiny Caltrans trucks I have seen over the last 2 months. I have driven for 10 years on south bay freeways and have never seen a one caltrans vehicle. For some reason I see 2-3 per day now, all brand new. Too bad they are always driving and not actually parked out working on the roads. I assume they are driving from meeting to meeting to talk about how they are going to spend all their new revenues (besides on new pickups, of course).

  4. Would be interesting if this headline said “Trump adminstration” rather than “Feds”. Would still be accurate but I wonder how different the perception would be.

    Great to see local leadership is able to look beyond Trump bad and get things done that help everyone. Honestly, going out in the East Bay is a lot better than SF at times. This makes that possible along with a whole bunch of other benefits. Ain’t gonna be perfect and will have growing pains but cannot see how this isn’t a good thing overall.

  5. Yet despite this, there is talk of yet another sales tax increase on the ballot in 2020, because obviously we are not taxed enough. Before increasing taxes YET AGAIN, waste needs to be removed from transportation projects. For example, VTA needs to eliminate waste and “gold plating” of the BART extension’s cost by reducing the scope to eliminate duplicate facilities. Specifically, we need to eliminate the redundant and wasteful section between the San Jose and Santa Clara Caltrain stations. The BART segment from these stations would duplicate both the existing Caltrain line and VTA’s 22 and 522 buses to a station that has approximately 1000 riders each weekday.

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