Officials to recommend $900M for BART extension

January 10, 2012 12:00:27 PM PST
Today, the long-awaited dream of a BART extension to San Jose is set to clear its final financial hurdle after an important recommendation from federal officials.

Extending BART from Fremont to San Jose has been talked about for the last 60 years. But Congressman Mike Honda, D-San Jose, said today is the day BART riders can actually celebrate. The federal government has announced it supports the plan.

"It's a major milestone and I think that people should be very proud of themselves for supporting this project," said Honda.

The Federal Transportation Agency will recommend that Congress send $900 million to the project. All that is left is a Congressional period of review, which many consider a formality.

"It's a significant step. It's our final and last step to getting BART to San Jose," said VTA spokesperson Brandi Childress.

Construction to clear out the corridor has already started. Local and state tax dollars are paying for work at the Fremont/Milpitas border. But the federal money is essential to complete the plan. Many residents in Fremont and in San Jose consider this a no brainer.

"I believe it's a great idea. There would be less vehicles on the road. I think that it should have been done a long time ago" said Tom Heincer of San Jose.

"$900 million in this day and age -- they don't have the money for it and what is wrong with the way it is," said Harry Corl of Los Gatos.

"Make no mistake, it is a lot of money, but it's money that is being invested by the people through our daily taxes and everything else like that. So it's going to be worth it," said Honda.

The extension would open in 2016.