Oct 31, 2023 - Transit

Bay Area’s BART extension to Santa Clara closer to reality

A Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train approaches a station on March 15 in El Cerrito. Photo: Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

A project to extend BART service to downtown San José and Santa Clara is one step closer to breaking ground following an allocation of new money.

Why it matters: The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) project, which has been in the works since the early 2000s, has sought a range of funding sources at the local, state and federal level to bring BART into Silicon Valley.

Driving the news: The $375 million commitment by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, a state agency that oversees transportation planning in the Bay Area, brings total state funding for the project to $1.5 billion.

State of play: The first phase of the project, which extended service from Alameda County into Santa Clara County with stops at Milpitas and Berryessa/North San José, broke ground in 2012 and opened for passengers in 2020.

  • The second phase, currently in design and engineering, would further extend the line six miles from the Berryessa Transit Center to stations at 28th Street/Little Portugal, downtown San José and Diridon Station — with service ending in Santa Clara.

What's next: VTA expects to receive an additional $6 billion — roughly 50% of the latest stage of the project's total cost — from the Federal Transit Administration in late 2024.

  • The amount of local and state funding already allocated gives the project a competitive advantage, according to the transit agency, which called the federal grant the "last remaining piece of the funding pie."
  • The VTA board chair also recently announced the creation of an ad-hoc oversight committee that will regularly provide updates on the project in a bid for transparency.
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