CA Announces $46.6M Light Rail Grant to Connect East San Jose to Milpitas BART

State officials on Monday announced a $46.6 million grant to extend VTA light rail service into East San Jose, creating a direct rail link between VTA's second-busiest bus transit center at Eastridge Mall in San Jose, the new Milpitas BART Station and the rest of the VTA light rail system.

The extension, to be completed in 2029, will include an elevated light rail station at Story Road with a pedestrian overcrossing and a ground level station at the Eastridge Transit Center.

When the project is complete, VTA riders will be able to get on light rail at the Eastridge Transit Center and connect directly with BART at Milpitas Station.

The April 24 announcement came with the presentation of a giant check by California Transportation Secretary Toks Omishakin in East San Jose, flanked by San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan, Santa Clara County Supervisors Sylvia Arenas and Cindy Chavez, Sen. Dave Cortese and others.

“I’m so excited for this project to break ground and to one day be able to get on board that light rail and go connect to BART and the larger regions!” Mahan tweeted after the event.

The award represents the final piece to bring rail into the Eastridge Transit center and is matched by “significant local funding”, according to the announcement from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office.

“The congested, transit-dependent neighborhoods of East San Jose are all classified as low-income communities and these residents will be able to travel on protected rail right-of-way through some of the Bay Area's most congested corridors to the major regional job centers,” said the state announcement.

The grant is one of 28 totaling $690 million announced by Newsom.The 28 projects are designed to benefit disadvantaged communities, and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 445,000 gas cars off the road, according to the governor’s office. State officials said the new projects will keep California on track to meet 2045 goals of 71% reduction in air pollution and 94% drop of gas consumption

The grants complete a first wave of $3.2 billion in state funding to expand transit and passenger rail service throughout the state.

"California is making a multiyear, multibillion-dollar investment to transform and modernize our transportation infrastructure, creating jobs, alternatives to driving, and reducing pollution,” said Newsom in a statement. “Our state is placing a high priority on investing in public transportation projects that aim to shift away from fossil fuels while making public travel more rider friendly. Today's announcement not only provides better travel alternatives but also helps to speed up our transition to a cleaner, healthier transportation future for all Californians."

The larger, multiyear, multibillion-dollar investment to upgrade the state’s transit system aims “to support equity, enhance mobility options, improve service and reduce overdependence on driving.” the governor’s office said in a statement.

The grants are administered by the California State Transportation Agency.

Among the projects also receiving funding is a $38.5-million grant for the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District’s Zero Emission Intercity Transit and Service Expansion Project, which will purchase 24 zero-emission buses to expand service frequency on the heavily traversed Highway 1 and Highway 17 corridors while also redeveloping the Watsonville Transit Station and Pacific Station to include more than 180 mixed‐use, affordable housing units.


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