Calif. rail extension enters environmental study phase

Posted on February 3, 2015

A rendering courtesy VTA
A rendering courtesy VTA

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Calif.’s Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) are initiating an environmental study for the proposed construction of an approximately six-mile extension of BART from the now under-construction Berryessa BART Station in San Jose to Santa Clara. The project is planned to include four stations: the Alum Rock, Downtown San Jose, Diridon and Santa Clara Stations.

The environmental study will be in compliance with the federal National Environmental Policy Act and state California Environmental Quality Act environmental process. The combined report will address short- and long-term environmental impacts after analyzing a no-build approach or a build-out approach known as VTA’s BART Silicon Valley Phase II Extension Project.

VTA will be holding three public meetings during this first phase of the environmental process known as the scoping period. The purpose of scoping is to narrow the focus of the study to significant environmental issues, eliminate insignificant impacts from detailed analysis and identify alternatives to be analyzed. Scoping also notices the public and initiates their involvement in the process.

VTA’s BART Silicon Valley Project is a 16-mile extension of the existing BART system to San Jose, Milpitas and Santa Clara, which will be delivered through a phased approach. The first phase, the Berryessa Extension, is a 10-mile, two-station extension, beginning in Fremont south of the future BART Warm Springs Station and proceeding in the former Union Pacific Railroad right-of-way through Milpitas, the location of the first station and then to the Berryessa area of north San Jose, at the second station. VTA continues project development activities for the second phase of the project that includes a subway tunnel through downtown San Jose. Construction on the second phase of the project will commence as additional funding is secured.

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