BART Silicon Valley Extension Takes Shape

By Timothy Schmidt and Bernice Alaniz

Since the late 1990s, transportation and community leaders, businesses and residents have aspired to bring regional transit service into Silicon Valley, the high-technology center of the world. In November 2000, Santa Clara County, Calif. voters approved a 30-year, half-cent sales tax to raise funds for an extension of the regional Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system from Fremont to San Jose. The following year, a major Investment Study/Alternatives Analysis by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) confirmed that extending BART to Milpitas, San Jose and Santa Clara provided the best transit option for I-880 and I-680, two heavily congested north-south regional corridors in the region.

In November 2001, VTA and BART entered into a Comprehensive Agreement for the 16-mile BART Silicon Valley Extension. Under this agreement, VTA is overseeing the construction and BART will operate the extension upon completion. By 2005, VTA determined that the extension needed to be implemented in phases to secure federal funding. The first phase was to extend the BART system from a future station in the Warm Springs area of the city of Fremont. Known as the Berryessa Extension, this $2.3 billion Phase I includes a station in Milpitas and a second station in Berryessa.

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