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Transportation Authority Pledges $772 Million for BART Extension

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority's board of directors voted in favor of awarding $772 million to extend BART into Milpitas and San Jose's Berryessa neighborhood.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority's board of directors Thursday morning unanimously voted to award a $772 million contract for the construction of the first phase of the extension of BART into the south bay.

The board awarded the contract to joint venture group Skanska-Shimmick-Herzog for construction of a 10-mile extension that will bring BART to San Jose's Berryessa neighborhood - the first phase of the 16-mile BART extension into Santa Clara County.

The funding will go toward the design and construction of the BART line, track, operating systems and two elevated stations in Milpitas and Berryessa.

"Finally we see BART coming to San Jose," said San Jose City Councilwoman Rose Herrera, who is on the board. "It's about time."

The project is expected to create roughly 5,500 construction jobs for the building of the extension and an additional 4,000 jobs because of construction activity in the area, VTA spokeswoman Brandi Childress said. About 3,800 more jobs will be generated by the construction of the station campus areas, access roadways, parking structures and transit centers. The VTA is in the process of finding a contractor for that portion of the project.

Skanska-Shimmick-Herzog was selected after an extensive procurement and evaluation process, beating out three other joint venture engineering and contractor firms. The firm proposed constructing the Berryessa extension for $77 million less than the engineer's estimate, while accelerating the construction schedule, board chair Margaret Abe Koga said. Skanska-Shimmick-Herzog's other projects include the BART Warm Springs Extension Fremont Central Park Subway, the AirTrain JFK Light Rail System, the World Trade Center PATH Transportation Hub reconstruction, and the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail System.

Most of the funding for the $2.3 billion Berryessa Extension Project has been secured through the VTA's Measure A Transportation Improvement Program. Measure A, which authorized a half-cent sales tax for transit improvements, was approved by Santa Clara County voters in 2000. The VTA is seeking a $900 million federal grant to cover the remaining cost of the project's first phase.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring and be completed by early 2017. The second phase of the project includes a 5.1-mile subway tunnel through downtown San Jose, and ends in Santa Clara near the Caltrain station. That phase of the project is pending additional funding.

- Bay City News Service


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