Commuters thrilled over plans to expedite South Bay BART expansion

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Wednesday brought major news for commuters around the Bay Area. You know those plans to bring BART to the South Bay and connect the region? Well, it looks like it could be coming much sooner -- thanks to help from the federal government.

"I'm very pleased to announce a $125 million funding allocation to Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority," Jane Williams, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Acting Administrator said.

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The FTA is putting funding toward the four-station BART extension that would take riders through Downtown San Jose and into Santa Clara.

The expansion is known as VTA's BART Silicon Valley Phase II Extension Project. When it's done, rapid rail service will connect the Bay Area. It should help commuters like Niteel Singh. He takes Amtrak from Hayward to San Jose.

"For the people from the East Bay commuting to San Jose, I think it would definitely help a lot and save a lot of time and money as well," Singh said.

Srinija Godavarthi used to commute from San Jose to San Francisco. Unfortunately, Caltrain doesn't drop off in the heart of the city.

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"I would take it to 4th and King and then I would walk like 20 or 25 minutes because the Muni was just a lot of transportation after," Godavarthi said. "So I was like nope. I'm just going to walk. Whereas if I had just taken the BART, I could have walked two minutes to my work place."

"I think it's good to have the connection all the way around," Ben Falter said.

Falter isn't entirely sold on BART. He commutes from Redwood City to San Jose.

"I find BART to not be aesthetically pleasing, comfortable and clean," Falter said. "So they need to clean up their act to get people around the Bay to use them."

Things are moving along, come December 2019, San Jose's Berryessa BART Station be the new end of the line.

Construction on Phase II is expected to start in 2022.

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