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BART Extension Expected to Clear Final Financial Hurdle Today

The U.S. Department of Transportation is expected to approve funding today for the BART extension that will run through Fremont, Milpitas and San Jose’s Berryessa neighborhood.

According to representatives from the offices of Congressman Mike Honda (D-Milpitas), the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is expected to approve the funding needed to complete the first phase of the BART Silicon Valley extension Tuesday.

This project will extend BART through Fremont, Milpitas and the Berryessa neighborhood of San Jose.

“This represents the final link needed to connect all the rail systems around the San Francisco Bay,” said Jack d’Annibale, communications director for Rep. Honda.

Tuesday, Jan. 10, the DOT is expected to send Congress an approved Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) for the first phase of the BART Silicon Valley Project. This represents the final step before starting construction on the project in early spring of 2012, d’Annibale explained.

“The execution of a FFGA is a final step before the project can begin construction, and a requirement for securing the $900 million in federal funds that Santa Clara VTA is seeking through annual appropriations,” d’Annibale added.

Rep. Honda has been a passionate proponent of the extension project. D’Annibale said, his dialogue with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was instrumental in securing the FFGA and ensuring the project would see the light of day.

“The BART Silicon Valley Project has gone through years of design and planning, and I am proud to see this important, job-creating project becoming a reality,” said Rep. Honda in a statement Monday. “As a current member of the House Appropriations Committee and a former Member of the House Transportation Committee, I promised my constituents that I would fight to ensure that the BART Silicon Valley Project receives the federal funds that it deserves, and today’s news is one step closer to making good on that promise.”

D’Annibale and Rep. Honda say the BART extension project “promises to be an economic success” for the region.

“For every dollar spent on construction, operations and maintenance of the BART project, $4 to $10 is expected to be reinvested in the region’s economy,” d’Annibale said.

Rep. Honda said one of the reasons he supports the project is the job creation it will help bring to the area.

“Ultimately, the BART Silicon Valley Project means jobs, jobs, jobs, which is why it is supported by both our communities’ business and government leaders,” Rep. Honda said.

Once the DOT’s approved FFGA is sent to Congress Tuesday, it can be signed after the mandatory 60-day notification period is over.

After the 60-day notification period, the FFGA is expected to be executed in March, with construction beginning soon after, in spring of this year.

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