The U.S. Federal Transit Administration issued a Letter of Intent to Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) announcing the Silicon Valley Phase II transit project was formally selected for funding through the Expedited Project Delivery (EPD) Pilot Programme.
The letter announces the federal government’s intention and requirements to obligate federal funds for an eligible project. This step is the precursor to execution of a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA), which provides for the actual funding. If VTA fulfills the requirements of the letter, FTA will award an FFGA for the project. The letter will be in effect for two years, and during that time VTA will continue to advance design, receive actual contractor bids, identify and mitigate or eliminate perceived risks, finalise an overall cost estimate, and solidify the funding plan to ultimately achieve a Full Funding Grant Agreement.
The maximum federal share of the project would be USD 2.287 billion or 25 percent of the final project cost, which is expected to be USD 9.15 billion. The remaining 75% will come from state and local sources.
VTA’s funding plan, developed in 2020 and submitted to the FTA, included an EPD funding request of USD 1.73 billion based on a USD 6.9 billion eligible budget and cost. VTA anticipates there may be cost increases from preliminary estimates, not least of all because of the impact of the pandemic on materials, supply chains and energy.
“The San Francisco – Silicon Valley corridor is one of the busiest and most economically significant in the nation. This announcement is a big step towards more transit options, a better commute, and cleaner air for Bay Area residents,” U.S. Transportation Deputy Secretary Polly Trottenberg said.
This step gives VTA the authority to incur costs for advancing engineering activities, utility relocation, real estate acquisition, construction, and other non-construction activities such as the procurement of vehicles. This milestone also defines the confidence the U.S. Department of Transportation has in VTA’s technical capacity and capability to effectively manage the Phase II project.
The Silicon Valley Phase II includes the construction of a 9.6 km line extension of the BART, of which 8 km will be constructed as a metro tunnel. The project includes four new stations and a maintenance facility. In May, VTA has shortlisted three joint ventures for the tunneling contract.
The new extension will extend BART service from the newly opened Berryessa station in northeast San Jose through downtown San Jose into the City of Santa Clara. Passenger service is planned to begin in 2030 when frequent and reliable rail services will be provided to more than 1.7 million residents in Santa Clara County.