San Jose, Calif. – March 12 – The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) today received a $900 million 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.
Over 300 people were in attendance to witness FTA Deputy Administrator Therese W. McMillan present the $900 million Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) to VTA General Manager Michael T. Burns for signature. “I am thrilled to be here to announce the agreement for the $900 million to bring the BART system into Santa Clara County. This project will keep the region on track to grow smartly and sustainably. President Obama understands that even in austere times, building transportation for our nation is not a luxury but a necessity. Together, in the partnership that we are demonstrating today, we can put people back to work making an America built to last with a transportation system that is the envy of the world, and the BART Silicon Valley Project will be a part of that system.”
This represents the last and final step in sealing the funding “deal” and specifying the annual allocations ranging from $59-150 million over the next seven years. Today, VTA also received its first $100 million allocation from the New Starts Funding Program. 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. Execution of the FFGA is the final step before construction on the 10-mile, two station BART extension can begin. The project will break ground on April 12, 2012.
U.S. Congressman Mike Honda, U.S. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Santa Clara County Supervisor and VTA Board Chair Ken Yeager, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, and Silicon Valley Leadership Group President and CEO Carl Guardino participated in the program and shared the long history of support and ardent efforts that took place to position the project to qualify and secure the funding.
“We are here celebrating this milestone today not just because of the current elected officials but because of generations of people who have worked so hard to get us to this moment,” said Congresswoman Lofgren.
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 $900 million federal funding grant.
“A decade ago, I promised my constituents that 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,” said Congressman Honda.
In November 2000, a package of transit improvements known as Measure A was overwhelmingly approved by a 70.3% majority vote, authorizing a 30-year, 1/2 cent sales tax to construct the largest infrastructure project in Silicon Valley.
“In 2008, voters support was tested yet again with Measure B that would provide a source of revenue for operations and maintenance costs of the BART Extension. Although polling showed less than what was needed to pass the 1/8-cent sales tax, we rolled up our sleeves and worked day and night to get the votes we needed,” said Silicon Valley Leadership Group President and CEO Carl Guardino. This extraordinary effort resulted in two dedicated local revenue streams which were critical in garnering the state and federal financial assistance to complete the BART Silicon Valley Berryessa Extension Project funding package.
The unprecedented public works project provides a critical transit alternative to help relieve congested freeway corridors and will prepare Santa Clara County for future job and population growth expected in the next 25 years.
“This kind of infrastructure investment is one that is required to ensure that Silicon Valley remain the innovation center of the world. The kind of investment makes it possible to build our economy, and makes it possible for companies to stay here and grow here,” said Mayor Chuck Reed.
The cost of the project is approximately $2.3 billion, which includes $900 million in federal assistance, $251 million in state funding and $1.179 billion from Measure A sales tax.
BART Silicon Valley
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.
For more information about BART Silicon Valley, please contact VTA Community Outreach at (408) 934-2662, (TTY only) (408) 321-2330, or visit www.vta.org/bart.
Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is an independent special district that provides sustainable, accessible, community-focused transportation options that are innovative, environmentally responsible, and promote the vitality of our region. VTA is responsible for bus, light rail and paratransit operations and also serves as the county’s congestion management agency. As such, VTA is responsible for countywide transportation planning, including congestion management issues, specific highway improvement projects, pedestrian and bicycle improvement projects, and provides these services throughout the county, including the municipalities of Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Clara, Saratoga and Sunnyvale. VTA continually builds partnerships to deliver transportation solutions that meet the evolving mobility needs of Santa Clara County.