Earlier this week, I wrote about how Americans want options for getting where they need to go, and more of them are choosing to ride transit.
DOT’s Federal Transit Administration understands that access to more transit options leads to more ridership, and today, FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff joined Bay Area leaders in breaking ground on a project that will provide a new choice for residents who commute to the Silicon Valley high-tech corridor each day – a 10-mile extension of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) rail system.
The Silicon Valley Berryessa Extension Project will bring transit service to downtown San Jose and Santa Clara County, relieving highway congestion and giving commuters the option to leave their cars at home. The extension includes the construction of two new stations, in Milpitas and Berryessa, and the purchase of 40 new passenger rail cars.
And according to BART, the project will create more than 2,500 construction-related jobs.
This is a big win for the region – creating thousands of construction-related jobs, spurring millions of dollars in new residential, retail, and commercial development out to Silicon Valley, and reducing congestion and saving gas as more drivers decide to take transit.
As Administrator Rogoff said, “investing in transit is about putting people back to work on projects like these that will allow Americans to keep more of their hard-earned money instead of suffering pain at the pump.”
It’s clear that the community is excited for this project to get started – residents twice voted to approve using local sales taxes to expand transit choices in Santa Clara County. This smart decision enabled DOT to approve $900 million in FTA funds, leveraging a $1.4 billion commitment by the State of California to send this project over the finish line.
In addition to investing in new transit options, it is essential that we keep the transit service that’s already built in good working order so it remains dependable and desirable.
Yesterday, Administrator Rogoff toured BART’s rail maintenance yard in Hayward, where he got a first-hand look at what it takes to keep BART’s rail cars, which are among the oldest in the nation, in safe working order.
Preserving the integrity of entire systems like BART end-to-end is key to ensuring their future reliability, and DOT is committed to fighting for continued federal funding to address the nation’s $78 million transit repair backlog.
DOT is proud to support important transit projects like the Silicon Valley Berryessa Extension, and we will continue to fund more like it that provide transportation options, create jobs, and help Americans save at the pump.