The Federal Transit Administration approved $900 million worth of funding for the first 10-mi phase of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) extension project to Santa Clara Valley.

Rendering by FMG Architects
BART's Berryessa station in San Jose
Rendering by VBN Architects
The Milpitas station

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) requested the full funding grant agreement (FFGA) amount. The project has received all of the federal and local administrative approvals, and the VTA says it is now 60 days away from receiving the funds.

Construction is scheduled to begin this spring, according to Bernice Alaniz, spokeswoman for the BART Silicon Valley project in Milpitas.

The VTA board last month awarded the first major design-build contract to the Skanska-Shimmick-Herzog joint venture. This first contract includes completing the design and construction of the line, track, systems and stations for the 10-mi Berryessa extension, the first phase of the 16-mi, $4-billion BART extension project.

The designers of the BART stations along the route are VBN Architects, Oakland, (Milpitas) and FMG Architects, Oakland and San Francisco (Berryessa).

The execution of an FFGA with the U.S. Department of Transportation is the final step before active construction can commence, according to the VTA. The FFGA is the multi-year contractual agreement between the FTA and VTA that formally defines the project scope, cost and schedule, and establishes the terms of the $900 million in federal financial assistance.

VTA submitted a grant application to the FTA in June 2011. In mid-December, following review of VTA’s grant request, the FTA presented an FFGA packet to the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the Office of the Secretary of Transportation. Both of these federal offices approved the grant packet, according to the VTA. Following this approval, the grant packet – complete with project scope, schedule and cost summary – was submitted to Congress Jan. 9 with a recommendation for the grant award, and to begin the mandatory 60-day congressional notification period. During this period, House and Senate committees may seek additional project information prior to execution of the grant award. 

The VTA says that nearly 5,500 jobs will be created during the construction of the line, track, systems and stations elements of the Berryessa extension. An additional 4,000 indirect jobs are created due to activities related to this contract, and 3,800 more jobs are created to support construction of the station campus areas, access roadways, parking structures and transit centers.