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BART Silicon Valley Project, funding milestone for VTA

By Brandi Childress

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- On Monday, March 12, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) received a $900M grant commitment from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for the BART Silicon Valley Berryessa Extension Project. A “signing” ceremony was held at the San Jose City Hall Rotunda at 10 a.m. to commemorate the largest project funding milestone in VTA’s history.

FTA Deputy Administrator Therese W. McMillan presented the $900M Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA), along with the first $100M allocation. The FFGA is a multi-year contractual agreement that formally defines the project scope, cost and schedule and establishes the terms of the federal financial assistance. U.S. Congressman Mike Honda, U.S. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, along with state and local officials also attended the milestone event.

“A decade ago, I promised my constituents I would not rest until this important project receives the federal funds that it deserves and this grant agreement is a testament to the fortitude of our Silicon Valley communities and our local leaders. This is a big win for our region,” stated Silicon Valley Congressman Mike Honda, Senior Member of the House Appropriations Committee and a former Member of the House Transportation Committee.

“The support from the federal government couldn’t have come at a better time,” said VTA Board Chairperson Ken Yeager. “As gas prices soar, commuters need more transit options.”

Execution of the FFGA is the final step before construction on the 10-mile, two station BART extension can begin. A project ground-breaking is planned for April 12, 2012.

Since 2002, the FTA has worked closely with VTA to design a project that would meet the stringent criteria of the FTA New Starts funding program. In 2011, the Berryessa Extension Project achieved several significant milestones which included advancing into the Final Design phase of New Starts, receiving a funding recommendation in the FY2012 President’s Budget, and submitting final documentation for the $900M federal funding grant. Monday, March 12, 2012 celebrated the culmination of these milestones and receipt of the first $100M allocation.

“This major public works project will prepare Santa Clara County for future job and population growth expected in the next 25 years and provides a critical transit option to meet the demand of more and more people replacing car trips with transit trips,” said VTA General Manager Michael T. Burns. “This project is happening because of unwavering congressional support and the backing of Santa Clara County residents who have ardently supported BART Silicon Valley since 2000.”

In November 2000, a package of transit improvements known as Measure A was overwhelmingly approved by a 70.3 percent majority vote, authorizing a 30-year, 1/2 cent sales tax to construct the largest infrastructure project in Silicon Valley. In 2008, county residents passed a 1/8 cent sales tax to fund the operating and maintenance costs of the BART Extension. The two local revenue streams were critical in garnering the state and federal financial assistance to finalize the BART Silicon Valley Berryessa Extension Project funding package.

The cost of the project is approximately $2.3 billion, which includes $900M in federal assistance, $251M in state funding and $1.179 billion from Measure A sales tax.

For more information about BART Silicon Valley, please contact VTA Community Outreach at (408) 934-2662, (TTY only) (408) 321-2330, or visit


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.

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