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The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority announced last week an attempt to secure more federal funding for the Bay Area Rapid Transit Silicon Valley Phase II Extension project.
The VTA submitted a request to the Federal Transit Administration to transition the project from the FTA's Expedited Project Delivery pilot program to the federal New Starts Funding Program, which provides a higher federal contribution, VTA officials said in a press release.
The switch would enable the authority to submit a preliminary federal funding request of 49% of project costs compared with 25% of project costs under the expedited delivery program. The VTA previously participated in the New Starts Funding Program for the BART Phase I Berryessa Extension project.
The transit agency has also requested continued pre-award authority through a letter of no prejudice from the FTA. If granted, the authority could continue advancing design, begin early construction work and purchase long-lead items, including a tunnel boring machine, VTA officials said. The authority also could continue incurring specific project costs with the reimbursement from the FTA upon the execution of a full funding grant agreement.
Currently, the VTA's updated funding plan submitted to the FTA is about $9.3 billion, reflecting an increase of $180 million compared with the FTA's 2021 risk assessment projection of about $9.1 billion. The increase is attributed to rising financing costs due to earlier debt issuances and bond interest rates increasing over the past year.
Over the next few months, the VTA plans to prepare an updated project schedule and cost estimate to reflect current market conditions.