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Federal, California officials break ground on BART's Berryessa extension


Last week, federal and local leaders marked the official groundbreaking of the Berryessa project, a 10-mile extension of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) rail system to California’s Silicon Valley.

The U.S. Department of Transportation last month approved $900 million in Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds for the project, leveraging a $1.4 billion commitment by the state of California and by voters who twice approved local sales taxes to expand transit choices in Santa Clara County, FTA officials said in a prepared statement.

The project entails constructing two new stations, in Milpitas and Berryessa, and purchasing 40 new passenger-rail cars. The New Starts project will continue the planned 16-mile BART Silicon Valley extension to bring rail service to downtown San Jose and Santa Clara County.

The extension will “provide residents with a reliable and efficient connection to jobs in Silicon Valley, who would otherwise be forced to continue to endure the punishing congestion throughout the Bay Area,” said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff, who attended the April 12 groundbreaking ceremony.

Also attending were U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Rep. Michael Honda (D-Calif.), San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, and former U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta.

When completed, the new rail segment will be part of a 119-mile BART network connecting Santa Clara County with San Mateo, San Francisco, Contra Costa and Alameda counties. FTA funds comprise 38.6 percent of the $2.3 billion project. The balance is financed with $1.4 billion in funds from the state’s Traffic Congestion Relief Program, plus local sales taxes approved by Santa Clara voters in 2000 and 2008.

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More News from 4/16/2012