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VTA updates BART extension plans

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) recently revised ridership and cost projections for the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) extension to the Silicon Valley.

By 2030, the line will carry more than 111,000 weekday passengers — a 33 percent increase compared with original projections. The revised figure reflects VTA’s compliance with a new Federal Transit Administration requirement that VTA base ridership estimates on official population and employment forecasts from the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). The authority now is basing ridership on ABAG’s 2003 Smart Growth projections instead of the ABAG Projections 2000.

VTA also raised the construction cost estimate from $4 billion to $4.7 billion. The estimate accounts for inflation since 2003, when the project was proposed, and the cost to add parking facilities and passenger vehicles to accommodate more riders.

The 16.3-mile, seven station extension would operate between the future BART Warm Springs Station in Fremont, Calif., and the cities of Milpitas, San Jose and Santa Clara. VTA is completing the project design and trying to secure funds to cover the extension’s operating costs. The authority might propose a quarter-cent sales tax measure in 2006 to cover operating costs.

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More News from 9/20/2005