Bay Area Rapid Transit expansion

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Throughout the history of Bay Area Rapid Transit, better known as BART, there have been plans to extend service to other areas.

Examples of previously completed projects include the extensions to Colma and Pittsburg/Bay Point (1996), Dublin/Pleasanton (1997), SFO/Milbrae (2003),[1] and the automated guideway transit spur line that connects BART to Oakland International Airport (2014).[2]

Construction projects underway[edit]

Warm Springs extension[edit]

Map of the planned BART extension to Warm Springs

A 5-mile (8.0 km) extension of BART south to Warm Springs / South Fremont station is currently under construction. The Warm Springs extension will bring BART south to the Santa Clara County line, a prerequisite for the extension to San Jose.

This extension received a green light from the federal government when the Federal Transit Administration issued a Record of Decision on October 24, 2006.[3] The action enabled BART to begin purchasing the necessary right-of-way for the project and receive state-administered federal funding to finance the project.

In January 2009, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that $91 million in funding had been diverted from the Caltrain Dumbarton Extension (a similar project to link the peninsula and East Bay with commuter rail) in order to begin construction on the Warm Springs Extension.[4]

On February 10, 2009, BART requested bids for the first segment of the Warm Springs Extension, a subway under Fremont Central Park and Lake Elizabeth.[5] The joint venture of Shimmick Construction Co. and Skanska USA Civil West California District Inc. won with a bid of $136 million which was 45% below the agencies' estimate of $249 million. On August 24, 2009, BART issued a "Notice to Proceed" to the contractors with construction beginning in Fall 2009. The contract for the above ground elements of the extension went to bid in late 2009 and construction began in 2009.[6]

The opening date for the Warm Springs extension has been pushed back multiple times over the years. As of 2014, BART had planned to open it for operations by fall 2015.[7][8] As of June 2015, the extension was scheduled to open for revenue service in early 2016.[9] As of September 2016, San Francisco Chronicle political columnists Phil Matier and Andy Ross reported a new tentative opening date of October 22, 2016, subject to the completion of electrical work.[10]

On June 28, 2011, BART directors and the City of Fremont reached an agreement to construct an infill station in the Irvington District. BART would build all the track and basic infrastructure for the station as a part of the Warm Spring Extension. The proposed Irvington BART Station was originally scheduled to open in late 2015.[11] But due to funding issues, the City of Fremont has postponed construction of the Irvington station indefinitely. As of 2013, the city of Fremont was still seeking funding for the construction of the station.[12] In 2014, voters passed Measure BB and the Alameda County Transportation Expenditure Plan which listed $120 million for the Irvington BART station that was contingent on full definition of the capital project and its approval as part of a future Capital Improvement Program.[13]

Silicon Valley BART extension[edit]

map of the planned BART extension to San Jose

Phase 1 of the Silicon Valley extension is planned to continue the Warm Springs Extension to the Berryessa neighborhood station in San Jose, linking the BART system to the Santa Clara VTA light rail. $900 million in funding by the Federal Transit Administration was awarded in March 2012, and the project officially started construction in April 2012, with this Phase 1 of the extension scheduled to be operational (e.g. for system testing) by late 2016,[14] with revenue service currently scheduled to begin in 2018 (or potentially earlier).[15]

Berryessa extension (Phase 1)[edit]

The planned Phase 1 route will continue south from the Warm Springs/South Fremont station in Fremont. There are contingencies for one "optional" infill station at Calaveras Blvd/SR 237 in downtown Milpitas; this station is not currently funded. The Milpitas station will be near Montague Expressway, co-located with the existing VTA Montague light rail station. The end of the extended line will be in San Jose, where there will be an elevated station at Berryessa Road at the current site of the San Jose Flea Market. BART rail tracks would end at US 101 between the interchanges at Santa Clara and Julian streets.


Main article: eBART

The eBART expansion plan calls for standard gauge diesel multiple unit (DMU) light rail train service to be implemented from the existing Pittsburg/Bay Point station to a Hillcrest Avenue station in Antioch.[16] The plan includes an option for a station at Railroad Avenue station in Pittsburg that would be built by that city. Future expansions to the east could connect the eBART service to Oakley, Brentwood, Byron, and beyond to Tracy and Stockton. Revenue service between Pittsburg/Bay Point and Antioch is currently projected to begin in 2018.[17]


San Jose subway extension (Phase 2) [edit]

The original plan was for the extension to continue into downtown San Jose via subway. However, in February 2009, projections of lower-than-expected sales-tax receipts from the funding measures forced the VTA to scale back the extension, ending it at the Berryessa station and delaying tunneling under downtown San Jose to a future phase of construction (making it essentially a "Phase 2" of the project). The originally-planned complete extension from Fremont to Santa Clara was projected to cost $6.1 billion, but the VTA estimates the extension to Berryessa (Phase 1 only) would cost just $2.1 billion.[18]

The plans for the downtown subway start with a portal before crossing under US 101. The proposed Alum Rock subway station would be on North 28th Street between Julian Street and Santa Clara Street. The proposed Downtown San Jose station would be underneath Santa Clara Street spanning the block from 3rd Street to Market Street. (The Downtown San Jose station was combined in 2005 from earlier plans for separate subway stations at Civic Plaza/San Jose State University and Market Street.)[19] The proposed Diridon/Arena station would be between SAP Center at San Jose and Diridon Station, which currently serves Amtrak, Caltrain, ACE and VTA Light Rail. The BART subway would then turn north, following the Caltrain route, and exit to the surface at another portal after crossing under I-880. The proposed Santa Clara BART station would be co-located at the existing Santa Clara Caltrain station. Separate construction plans by San Jose International Airport would bring a people-mover train to the Santa Clara BART/Caltrain/ACE/Amtrak station.

For the subway segment in San Jose, VTA plans to use a tunnel boring machine for most of the length in order to reduce disruptions to downtown during construction. Only the station locations would have cut and cover construction.[20] This is different from how BART subways and stations were built in San Francisco and Oakland, which used the cut and cover method. The construction of the cut and cover stations in downtown San Jose would still cause major albeit temporary disruption, including closing several blocks of Santa Clara Street and severing the VTA light rail line at that street. The extension to downtown San Jose could open 2025 or later, contingent on approval of funding.[21]

Funding and Electoral History (2000–2008)[edit]

Since Santa Clara County is not among the member counties of the BART District (having opted out of the district at its inception, like neighboring San Mateo county), VTA is responsible for building the extension within Santa Clara County. VTA allocated initial funds for constructing BART using the proceeds from a sales tax referendum which was passed by Santa Clara County voters in 2000. In December 2002, VTA purchased a freight railroad corridor from Union Pacific Railroad which will serve as much of the necessary right-of-way for both the Warm Springs and San Jose extensions for $80 million.[22]

In 2004, the Federal Transit Administration decided to wait to fund the project, citing worries that BART did not have enough money to operate the extension.[23] In addition, the San Jose extension project received a "not recommended" rating from the Federal Transit Administration placing the federal portion of the funding in jeopardy because of concerns about operation and maintenance funding.[24]

To address these concerns and help secure federal funding, Santa Clara County voters were presented with 2008 Measure B, a ⅛-cent sales tax raise, in the 2008 presidential primary election.[25] Projections by an independent consultant recommended by the Federal Transit Administration predicted that the ⅛-cent sales tax would more than cover operation and maintenance of the proposed extension.[26] After an extended process of counting ballots due to the closeness of the result to the passing threshold,[27] on November 21, 2008, it was announced that Measure B passed with 66.78% voter approval.[28][29]

Livermore extension: I-580/Tri-Valley Corridor[edit]

This extension of either conventional BART or DMU BART service would go from Dublin/Pleasanton station east to Livermore.[30] It could possibly continue over the Altamont Pass into Tracy and the Central Valley along I-580 and/or go north through Dublin, San Ramon, Danville, and Alamo to the existing Walnut Creek station via the I-680 corridor.

The extension of BART rail to Tracy is considered unlikely,[citation needed] as San Joaquin County, in which Tracy is located, is not part of the three district counties and does not pay into the regional BART tax. The extension of third-rail BART, which would require exclusive and grade-separated rights-of-way over such a long distance, would be substantially more expensive. With conventional rail, existing trackage can be used, and incremental upgrades (such as grade separations at selected intersections, overhead electrification, signaling improvements, utilities relocation, etc.) are possible as funding dollars become available, but choosing BART would require a full build-out of the system initially, along with comprehensive funding.

An existing diesel commuter rail line, the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) currently operates through Livermore. A free shuttle transfers passengers between the ACE Pleasanton station and the BART Dublin/Pleasanton station, linking the two systems.[31][32][33]

A preferred alignment was selected July 1, 2010 and originally had the support of the Livermore City Council. This alignment would have involved the construction of a station in downtown Livermore, and a second station on Vasco Road near Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories. Both proposed stations would have provided nearby connections to Altamont Corridor Express service.[34]

However, in July 2011, the Livermore City Council reversed its position in response to a petition requesting that the alignment stay within or nearby the Interstate 580 right-of-way, and now favors stations be built at the Interstate 580 interchanges with Isabel Avenue and Greenville Road.[35] BART's Environmental Impact Report Notice of Preparation, issued in September 2012, proposes a single station at I-580 and Isabel Avenue, with possible express bus routes connecting to the Vasco Road ACE station and a park-and-ride lot at I-580 and Greenville Road.[36] Land use plans and studies were being prepared by the city of Livermore in September 2015, and completion is envisioned in 2026.[37][38]

Menlo Park extension (1999)[edit]

In 1999, a short-lived proposal to extend BART from the Millbrae station (then under construction) to Menlo Park was advanced by the San Mateo County Economic Development Association (SAMCEDA). The proposed routing would have followed the Caltrain tracks to the Broadway station in Burlingame, and then would run along the median of Bayshore Freeway to Menlo Park, with stations in San Mateo, Belmont/San Carlos, Redwood City, and Menlo Park. Cost estimates ranged up to US$2,500,000,000 (equivalent to $3,550,000,000 in 2015), drawing funding from a 1/2-cent sales tax increase in San Mateo County.[39] BART leadership warned the timing was not appropriate for a push further south into San Mateo County, and SAMCEDA withdrew the proposal by the summer of 1999.[40]

Infill stations[edit]

Infill stations are stations constructed on existing line segments between two existing stations. The West Dublin/Pleasanton and Embarcadero stations are the only infill stations currently in the BART system. The Doolittle Car Barn, initially slated to be opened as a full station along the Oakland Airport Connector, may be repurposed for passenger service at a later date.

BART planners have studied additional stations for at least four other sites within the system: Albany, Calaveras, Irvington, and 30th Street Mission.[41] Construction costs for a planned 30th Street Mission station in San Francisco, between the existing 24th Street Mission and Glen Park stations, were estimated at approximately $500 million in 2003.[42] A proposal for a Jack London Square station in Oakland was rejected as being incompatible with existing track geometry; a one-station stub line at the foot of Broadway and the use of other transit modes also were studied.[43]

BART Metro Vision[edit]

Key components of the overall vision for BART's future, dubbed BART Metro Vision, include more capacity in stations, increased train frequency to allow for "show up and go" service at stations within the system's operational core, and increased performance reliability. The most recent report from BART Metro Vision also identifies improvements to its rolling stock, the Hayward Maintenance Complex, and the modernization of its train control system as key improvements for securing the system's long-term viability.[41]

Transit advocacy groups in the Bay Area have long promoted larger-scale expansion of the BART system through various capital projects. One identified as a long term goal in the Metro Vision is the construction of a second, four-bore rail tunnel under San Francisco Bay, increasing connectivity and capacity of the system. The second tube would likely route to the Transbay Transit Center for connections with California High-Speed Rail, and Caltrain.


  1. ^ "Celebrating 40 Years of Service 1972 • 2012 Forty BART Achievements Over the Years" (pdf). Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). 2012. Retrieved 2014-12-02. 
  2. ^ "New BART service to Oakland International Airport now open". Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). November 21, 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-02. 
  3. ^ "Feds green light BART's Warm Springs Extension project". Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). November 2, 2006. Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  4. ^ Cabanatuan, Michael (January 15, 2009). "BART Warm Springs extension gets funding". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  5. ^ Artz, Matthew (February 2, 2009). "BART preparing to start Warm Springs extension". Fremont Argus / ANG Newspapers. Retrieved 2009-02-11. 
  6. ^ "On schedule and under budget". August 20, 2010. Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
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  12. ^ "City of Fremont - Legislative Guiding Principles and Priorities 2013". City of Fremont. 2013. p. 8. Retrieved 2014-02-18. 
  13. ^ "2014 Alameda County Transportation Expenditure Plan" (PDF). Alameda County Transportation Committee. Retrieved 2015-04-18. 
  14. ^ "San Francisco's rapid rail gets $900 million for Silicon Valley extension". CNN. March 14, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Timeline - Berryessa Extension Project Timeline". Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  16. ^ "East Contra Costa BART Extension (eBART)". Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). April 3, 2013. Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  17. ^ "East Contra Costa BART Extension (eBART) Chronology". Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). June 11, 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-12. 
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  19. ^ "Minutes of Silicon Valley Rapid Transit Corridor BART Extension Policy Advisory Board Meeting". Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). June 22, 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-08-27. 
  20. ^ "Downtown San Jose Subway Fact Sheet" (PDF). Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). May 14, 2002. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-08-27. 
  21. ^ "South Bay BART initiatives move forward". KGO-TV ABC San Francisco. May 8, 2009. Retrieved 2010-09-17. 
  22. ^ "Union Pacific closes land and track sale to VTA". Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal. December 2002. Retrieved 2007-08-27. 
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  26. ^ "BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING - AGENDA" (PDF). Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). August 7, 2008. Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  27. ^ "Measure B reaches two-thirds approval in late vote counting". San Jose Mercury News. November 17, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-17. 
  28. ^ "BART backers pop open champagne, celebrate vision for San Jose's Grand Central Station". San Jose Mercury News. November 21, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  29. ^ "November 4 Presidential Primary Election SUMMARY RESULTS - MEASURE B". Santa Clara County Government. November 21, 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-11-16. Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  30. ^ "Livermore Extension". BART. January 23, 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-26. 
  31. ^ "Pleasanton Station | ACE Rail Stations". Altamont Commuter Express. Archived from the original on 2010-07-03. Retrieved 2010-08-10. 
  32. ^ "Wheels - Timetables - Route 54 - Pleasanaton Fairgrounds ACE Shuttle". Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority. Retrieved 2010-08-10. 
  33. ^ "Wheels - Fares and Sales". Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority. Archived from the original on 2010-08-01. Retrieved 2010-08-10. 
  34. ^ "BART Board selects alignment for Livermore extension". Retrieved 2008-11-17. 
  35. ^ Courtney, Jennifer (July 12, 2011). "City Council OKs Initiative to Keep BART on I-580". Livermore Patch. Retrieved 2013-01-08. 
  36. ^ "BART to Livermore Extension Project". Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). June 12, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  37. ^ Gary Richards (December 18, 2015). "Roadshow: BART down I-680 not a consideration". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2016-03-09. 
  38. ^ "Isabel BART Station Plans in the Works". The Independent. September 17, 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-01. 
  39. ^ "SAMCEDA 1999 proposal for BART via 101 to Menlo Park". Bay Rail Alliance. 27 June 2004. Retrieved 15 March 2016. 
  40. ^ Softky, Marion (21 July 1999). "Plan dumped to extend BART down Bayshore Freeway to Menlo Park". The Almanac News. Menlo Park. Retrieved 15 March 2016. 
  41. ^ a b "BART Metro Vision Update" (PDF). Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). April 25, 2013. Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  42. ^ John T. Warren and Associates, Inc. (May 2003). "San Francisco County Planning: 30th Street Infill Station Study" (PDF). Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). p. 64. Retrieved 2014-07-16 – via 
  43. ^ "The Jack London BART Feasibility Study" (PDF). Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). December 2004. pp. 17–31. Retrieved 2014-07-16 – via 

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