The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) notified the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (SCVTA) on June 4 that a Record of Decision (ROD) has been issued for the next six miles of the transportation authority's Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Silicon Valley Extension.
The extension will span into the downtown San Jose and Santa Clara, Calif., areas in its second phase.
Receiving the ROD is a required step for projects seeking federal funding and marks a critical milestone for the project, SCVTA said. The transportation authority has satisfied the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for the $4.7 billion project, a statement explained.
"This Record of Decision by the FTA puts us in a strong position to secure the final federal funding necessary to extend BART all the way to Downtown San Jose and Santa Clara," said SCVTA Board Chair Sam Liccardo. "As we come one step closer in our two-decade campaign to complete a ring of rail around the Bay, I'd also like to thank my predecessors — Mayors Ron Gonzales and Chuck Reed — as well as leaders like Carl Guardino at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group who've played instrumental roles in advancing this transformative project for our residents."
As the project sponsor, SCVTA plans to apply for $1.5 billion in FTA New Starts Program funding in order to complete the project's Phase 2 funding plan.
The transportation authority has secured 70 percent of the funding so far, utilizing two local sales tax measures and a $750 million Senate Bill 1 state grant.
The ROD is issued after the completion of an extensive environmental analysis and public review, as documented in the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS).
Following the issuance of the ROD, SCTA will now launch the engineering phase of the project and apply for federal funding, officials said.
"As an unwavering supporter of the full vision for BART Silicon Valley, I know how critical this milestone is in our efforts to connect the San Francisco Bay Area's three largest cities that are experiencing tremendous growth," said California State Sen. Jim Beall. "It is important that we continue to work on the federal support and ensure the project is built on time and on budget."
The BART Silicon Valley Phase 2 Project is a six-mile, four-station extension intended to expand BART operations from Berryessa/North San José through downtown San Jose to Santa Clara.
Phase 2 of the project will complete the full 16-mile extension from the Warm Springs/South Fremont Station into Santa Clara County, and improve regional connectivity with BART and SCVTA's light-rail network, Amtrak, Altamont Corridor Express, Caltrain and Capitol Corridor.
The project's second phase includes a roughly five-mile subway tunnel, three underground stations and one at-grade station.
Construction is planned to begin by 2021, with passenger service set to launch by 2026. SCVTA expects the service to reach a projected 52,000 weekday riders by 2035. After it is built, the extension will be operated by BART and function as part of its regional rail system.