On Thursday, the Bay Area Rapid Transit’s (BART) Board, by a vote of seven to one, approved the last of the resolutions vital to its role in funding the Oakland Airport Connector project, which has been studied since the 1970s. The Board authorized BART staff to apply for up to $150 million in low-interest federal loans to secure the final funding. BART expects ridership revenues to cover the cost of the loan.
The project, which would connect BART’s Coliseum Station and the Oakland Airport, will cost approximately $500 million to construct and use $70 million in federal stimulus money. The entire project would create and/or support approximately 13,000 direct and indirect jobs and generate $1.2 billion in economic activity according to the American Public Transportation Association’s formula.
“Finally, Oakland will have a world-class, environmentally-friendly transit connection from Oakland Coliseum BART station to its airport – similar to the automated people mover at SFO,” BART Board President Tom Blalock said. “Not only will this bring jobs in the short term it will also lure businesses and airlines to Oakland and if funding becomes available there could be future stations along the line to enhance the local economy.”
In addition to the $150 million loan, the rest of the funding for design and construction of the approximately $500 million project would come from local, state and federal sources. BART expects revenue service to begin in 2013.