BART-to-SJ Down Payment Finally Arrives

It's a big day for BART - federal transit leaders will sign the first chunk of its $900 million pledge for the BART to San Jose extension.

BART's long-awaited South Bay extension finally rolls forward today.

The Federal Transit Administration has pledged $900 million to the project. The first check, for $100 million, came Monday. The FTA presented the document at a ceremony at the rotunda of San Jose City Hall (pictured below).

The federal funds will go toward the first phase of the extension, a 10-mile, two-station line that will connect the planned Warm Springs BART Station in south Fremont with the Berryessa area in North San Jose. The Warm Springs station is set to open in 2014. Construction of the Berryessa extension will likely begin in April 2012.

Funding still must be secured for the remaining six miles of the project, which would extend BART into downtown San Jose and neighboring Santa Clara.

If all goes as planned, the extension could be up and running as soon as 2016.

Among the officials who were all smiles Monday was Rep. Zoe Lofgren.

"This $900 million agreement is an important milestone in connecting San Francisco to San Jose through regional public transit," said Lofgren. "Today we celebrate the culmination of a lot of hard work to bring the Silicon Valley Project BART extension into reality. This project has been many years in the making, and when completed, it will provide the Bay Area with improved public transportation and economic benefits for decades to come."

Lofgren notes that the first phase of the BART to Silicon Valley project is expected to create 1,600 direct project-specific jobs.

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