OAKLAND, Calif. — The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) this week committed $91 million in voter-approved Regional Measure 2 bridge toll money to help finance an $890 million extension of the BART system to Fremont’s Warm Springs district.
Construction of the 5.4-mile extension from the current terminus at the Fremont station — which would be the first leg of a planned $6.1 billion extension of the BART system to Milpitas, San Jose and Santa Clara — is slated to begin in the summer of 2009.
MTC made the financing pledge as part of a strategic plan for implementing the $17.4 billion Regional Transit Expansion Program adopted by the Commission in 2001 and updated in 2006. The $91 million approved this week for the Warm Springs BART extension originally was designated for rehabilitation of the old Dumbarton Rail Bridge and the launch of commuter rail service over the span.
The Dumbarton Rail project remains part of the Regional Transit Expansion Program and the Commission has reaffirmed its commitment to pursue other financing options for the initiative.
“The bottom line is that the Warm Springs BART extension is ready to go and the Dumbarton Rail project is not,” explained MTC Vice Chair and Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty. “But without the RM 2 money, BART probably wouldn’t have been able to start on the Warm Springs project until 2014 at the earliest. This arrangement allows the Commission to accelerate project delivery by providing funding for ready-to-go projects, and to make sure funding for Dumbarton Rail will be available when that project is ready to go.”
Before MTC will fulfill its $91 million pledge for the Warm Springs BART extension, the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency must agree to assign to the Dumbarton Rail project $91 million of state transportation funds it expects to receive in future years. Funding also is contingent upon the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) committing to a full funding plan for an operable BART segment in Santa Clara County.
In addition, MTC must hold a public hearing on the transfer of RM 2 dollars from the Dumbarton Rail project to the Warm Springs BART extension. This hearing likely will take place in December 2008 or January 2009.
MTC has now allocated more than $750 million in Measure 2 funds. The commitments to date include $657 million for 32 separate capital projects and $109 million for transit operations around the Bay Area.
MTC is the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area’s transportation planning, coordinating and financing agency.