BART as Expansive as Ever as Strike Looms

Transit agency still pushing Oakland Airport link, San Jose extension

It's a busy day for the folks managing the Bay Area Rapid Transit System.

First, ongoing negotiations with the unions representing BART employees look to burn the midnight oil as contract bargaining enters a marathon leg.

An extended deadline expires at the stroke of twelve tonight. If a deal isn't reached, union workers could go on strike just in time for the Monday morning commute -- so brush up on your alternate options.

Meanwhile, a planned extension connecting the Coliseum station to the Oakland Airport lost an ally in State Senator Don Perata.

While Perata originally authored the ballot measure to fund the extension, now calls the $522 million project too costly for what it's worth.

The plan calls for a $6 surcharge for BART riders hoping to continue on a train to the airport.

The current bus connection costs $3, and a similar connection to San Francisco Airport is free with a fare.

And in Sacramento, the California Transportation Commission votes today on whether to release another $40 million in funds toward the extension of BART from Fremont to San Jose.

The commission has already allocated $400 million toward the $6.1 billion, 16.1-mile spur to be overseen by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

BART's most recent expansion, the extension to Millbrae and SFO in San Mateo County, has failed to deliver the projected ridership after billions of dollars in cost overruns. Critics say improving and expanding regional rail services like Caltrain would be a much cheaper alternative than expanding BART.

Photo by Flickr user Rail Life.

Jackson West will probably be riding a lot more BART soon enough, so hopes it all works out for the best, really.

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