The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority tonight agreed to buy a high-tech tunnel boring machine to create a giant 5-mile tunnel under downtown San Jose to extend BART to Diridon Station and Santa Clara.
The project would be the first rail project in the United States using a tunnel created by a single bore that will allow both tracks and station platforms to be built within the tunnel, using the newest technology in underground construction.
VTA officials revealed tonight that the total cost of the project to complete BART’s loop through San Jose from the East Bay has soared to $9.3 billion, and that the authority next year will begin applying for federal aid to fund the project.
The VTA board tonight learned that the Federal Transit Administration notified the authority today that Phase II of the BART extension has been approved to re-enter the federal New Starts Funding program, which allows VTA to apply for twice the amount of funding anticipated under a previous Expedited Project Delivery pilot program.
The federal approval also will allow the VTA to include past eligible expenses for potential grant reimbursement back to March 2016 in its funding request, in addition to all remaining work on the project, for the estimated total project cost of up to $9.3 billion.
VTA officials said they plan to begin work on the application for up to 50% of the total project cost as soon as summer 2023, after a final cost estimate and funding plan is worked out.
This funding, as much as $4.6 billion, would enable BART to follow an alignment that will extend the rail service from Berryessa/North San Jose through Downtown San Jose into Santa Clara.
With consideration of the FTA’s actions, VTA’s Board of Directors authorized the execution of contract amendments for up to $460 million at its Thursday night meeting, including the purchase of the tunnel boring machine and moving into early construction activities.
Kiewit Shea Traylor has the tunnel and trackwork contract for the project and plans to procure a tunnel boring machine approximately 54 feet in diameter, to bore a 5-mile tunnel under Downtown San Jose.
VTA is seeking an additional $750 million from the state’s transportation funding program for major transit projects as the last key funding piece.
Phase I was completed in 2020, extending 10 miles of BART service from the Warm Springs/South Fremont Station in Alameda County into Santa Clara County, with stops at Milpitas and Berryessa/North San José.
Phase II will extend service 6 more miles from the Berryessa Transit Center to stations at 28th Street/Little Portugal, Downtown San José and Diridon Station, ending at a Santa Clara station, which connects with CalTrain.