Bay Area projects get millions in federal funding

February 15, 2011 8:40:12 PM PST
There is good news for Bay Area transportation projects in President Obama's new budget. It sets aside hundreds of millions of dollars for San Francisco's subway and for BART's San Jose extension.

A Valley Transportation Authority drawing of a Berryessa BART station took a huge step forward toward becoming reality Monday. The 10.1 mile BART extension from Fremont to Berryessa got some unexpected proposed federal funding and a recommendation for full funding.

"This is like the last and final hurdle before you win the race," VTA spokesperson Bernice Alaniz said.

The total cost of the project is $2.3 billion. There is now $130 million worth proposed for fiscal year 2012, with federal transportation authority's green-lighting another $900 million over time.

The VTA has already started work on relocating utilities along the rail corridor, with construction set to begin less than a year from now. Final design work will be shared with BART.

"We are not technically a part of BART, but we have shown through our tax measures that the Santa Clara County residents want BART and are willing to pay for it," Alaniz said.

In San Francisco, work has begun on relocating utilities in Union Square to make way for the 1.7-mile central subway, which is also in line for some federal funding.

The $1.6 billion project got a proposed $200 million, with another $947 million expected.

"Yesterday is a clear indication of a clear commitment that administration has to mass transit, public transportation," SFMTA Executive Director Nat Ford said. "San Francisco with transit first has been at the forefront."

And congested Van Ness between Lombard and Mission streets is also on the list for proposed funding. A bus rapid transit line will cost $120 million. It got a $30 million proposal Monday.

Congress still has to weigh-in, still transportation officials are confident the proposals signal these projects are on their way.

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