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  • BVNA

The Back Story: BART

As a Board Member of the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), I don’t purport to speak for the agency. On several occasions, I’ve publicly criticized VTA, to urge a much more aggressive transformation of a costly, underperforming light rail system, and to reign in unsustainable budgetary decisions. But misleading conclusions have emerged from the latest controversy over the cost and construction schedule of the second phase of the BART project, a project that would extend BART service from the recently-completed Berryessa station in North San Jose to stations at Little Portugal in East San Jose, Downtown, Diridon Station, and Santa Clara. This controversy–and this project — deserves a deeper dive.

Here’s the skinny: it is very likely that the construction of this BART extension will take longer than the planned 2030 ribbon-cutting, and it is certain that it will cost significantly more than the $6.9 billion previously projected by VTA’s engineers.

How much more? We can’t know for sure–yet. We do know that every major transit project in the U.S. is enduring ballooning construction costs — including Caltrain’s electrification project–stemming from supply chain disruptions, construction labor shortages, and a massive ramp-up in federal infrastructure spending since the pandemic...

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