San Jose is still on track for BART service by the end of 2019, but BART penetration into the thick of Silicon Valley remains years away—possibly even longer than originally planned.
San Jose Mercury News cites Valley Transportation Authority estimates that Diridon Station, Downtown San Jose Station, and other nearby stops may not be ready until 2030.
Bernice Alaniz, BART’s Silicon Valley business operations and communications director, says, “It would be fair to say that we are looking at a construction timetable that would be later than the original schedule,” probably finishing in 2029 at the earliest.
While Alaniz cautions that designs aren’t finished yet, the original 2026 timeframe appears unlikely.
Under what’s technically the official timetable, the design and engineering phase of the project will continue through 2022, with construction beginning that same year and finishing within four years.
The Diridon and downtown stops are critical to the joint BART and Valley Transportation Agency’s “Silicon Valley Phase II” initiative—a $5.51 billion plan that includes four new Santa Clara County stops, with Alum Rock, and Santa Clara stations also set for a 2026 opening.
The current plan stretches back to at least 2000 when Santa Clara County voted in favor of a sales tax hike to fund transit projects, including “extending BART from Alameda County to the cities of Milpitas, San Jose and Santa Clara.”
Implemented in 2006, the tax remains in effect until 2036, but it provides only a small amount of funding for San Jose BART, less than one-fifth of the money for Phase II alone.
The rest of the budget is made up of future taxes (including funds from bridge tolls instituted last year) and state and federal funds.
Berryessa Station in north San Jose and Milpitas Station both comprise Phase I and are both supposed to begin carrying passengers by December.