$20 Million Grant Kick-Starts VTA's BART Silicon Valley Phase II Extension
SACRAMENTO – collaborative effort by Senator Jim Beall and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority has secured a California State Transportation Agency grant award of $20 million to start the groundwork to extend BART through San Jose all the way to the Santa Clara Caltrain Station.
“This grant represents a down payment on a long-term commitment by the state to help fund the most important and transformative mass transportation project in Silicon Valley’s history,’’ said Beall, the chairman of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. “In this valley, we think big and we think smart and that describes the BART Silicon Valley Phase II Extension. When VTA completes this project it will take 20 million car trips off the road a year and also cut greenhouse gas emissions by 16,000 tons.
“I thank the California State Transportation Agency, the VTA staff, and to everyone who worked to put together a compelling package that resulted in our valley winning this grant.’’
The foundation for the grant award was set by the passage of Senate Bill 9 -- the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund/Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program -- introduced by Beall and signed into law last year. The bill authorizes multi-year grant funding under the Transit and Intercity Rail Capitol Program, or TIRCP, to provide a new level of financial certainty for continuing projects.
“The expansion of BART into the heart of Silicon Valley is a vital project for the region’s and state’s future,’’ said California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly. “This project makes sense from an economic, environmental and transportation perspective. With the enactment of SB 9 introduced by Senator Beall—calling on California to fund larger, more transformative transit projects—the state looks forward to being a constructive partner toward seeing this project through to completion in the years ahead.”
The VTA’s grant application was one out of a total of 41 submitted by local transportation agencies throughout the state. To increase the application’s competitiveness, Beall, who also serves as chairman of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, facilitated informational meetings between VTA officials with CalSTA representatives that sharpened VTA’s request. In addition, Beall and his staff met often with VTA and CalSTA to ensure the application’s comprehensiveness.
Nuria Fernandez, General Manager and CEO of VTA, said the CalSTA grant award and guarantee of future funding will act as seed money to attract more support. The grant is funded by greenhouse gas allowance auction proceeds from the California Air Resources Board’s Cap-and-Trade Program.
"The investment of cap-and-trade dollars in transformative mega-infrastructure projects, like VTA's BART Silicon Valley Phase II Extension, not only improves mobility and the quality of the air we breathe,’’ Fernandez said. “But it also sends a strong message on the State's commitment to this important project, incentivizing the federal government and local communities to become funding partners as well."
Fernandez also thanked Beall for his role in obtaining the CalSTA grant and commitment.
"We appreciate the staunch support from Senator Beall on all our transportation projects. Without the State's participation, VTA would not be delivering the first 10-miles of BART service into our county come fall 2017. This commitment of $20 million is a step forward in realizing the full vision of BART Silicon Valley, relieving our congested roadways, better connecting the entire Bay Area region through an extensive, multimodal network and meeting our air quality goals," Fernandez said.
With the grant, the BART Silicon Valley project continues its path toward its final destination, Santa Clara.
"BART to Silicon Valley is not only on-track, it's one year ahead of schedule and $75 million under budget," said Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. "When passenger service on BART begins next fall, 2017, we should be already close to building the final six miles to East San Jose, San Jose State, the SAP Arena and on to Santa Clara."
When the BART trains roll into the Santa Clara Caltrain station it would complete the promise made to Santa Clara County voters when they approved Measure B in 2008.
“This funding brings us one step closer to completing a ‘ring of rail’ around the entire Bay Area that will help relieve traffic congestion for millions of residents throughout Silicon Valley,’’ San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said. “I’d like to thank Governor Brown, Secretary Kelly and Senator Beall for recognizing that investing in modern public transit systems is critical to the continued success of both our region and the entire state.”