BART Board approves new Oakland Airport Connector funding plan


BART Board approves new Oakland Airport Connector funding plan

The BART Board reaffirmed its commitment today to creating thousands of jobs by approving a new funding package worth $484 million to build the Oakland Airport Connector (OAC) - a world-class, pollution-free, swift and reliable train-to-plane connection between the Coliseum BART Station and the Oakland Airport. 

“Today is a historic day for the Bay Area and BART,” BART Board President James Fang said. “Now both major airports in the BART counties have train-to-plane connections. While it was difficult to overcome the unexpected federal withdrawal of $70 million in stimulus funds, BART, with the help from the community, our partner agencies and especially Governor Schwarzenegger’s office, we were able to overcome the high hurdles before us.  I especially want to thank my fellow BART Directors for having the courage to see this project through.  Now let’s get the dirt flying, the people riding and the citizens of Oakland and the Bay Area working!”

“This project is very important to the people of my district and to the millions who use the Oakland Airport,” Board Member Carole Ward Allen said.  Ward Allen has worked to get this project built in her home city of Oakland for nearly two decades. “We couldn’t be building this project at a better time, because Oakland currently has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state.  The project-labor agreement that accompanies this project specifically states 25% of the work will go to Oakland residents – providing many with much needed jobs. I’m also very happy the project includes goals to create opportunities for companies run by people of color and women.”

FTA Issues Letter Commending BART
On Wednesday, BART’s General Manager received a letter from the Federal Transit Administration commending the agency for its efforts to address Title VI requirements. In February, the FTA withdrew $70 million in stimulus money, citing Title VI deficiencies. The FTA commended BART “for not only meeting the deliverables contained in the action plan but exceeding them.” The letter stated, “They are effectively creating substantial organizational change that will pay off in the long run.”

“We want to thank the FTA for its guidance through this process,” BART General Manager Dorothy Dugger said. “The next step is to secure approval of $24.99 million from FTA and approval of $20 million in state funds, which is scheduled for the August 12 th  California Transportation Commission meeting. Those are the two remaining steps needed to award the contract to deliver this long-awaited transit project and much needed jobs.”

The New Funding Package
In order to replace the $70 million, the Board approved the new funding package in a vote of 8 to 1.  The plan now consists of $8 million in project cost reductions and $62 million in funding from a variety of sources including state transportation funds, the BART SFO Reserve Account, the High Speed Passenger Train Bond and borrowing additional funds from the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act - a low interest federal loan.  Visit www.bart.gov/oac  for more details on the project’s total funding plan.

"The Oakland Airport Connector will not just create thousands of jobs, it will play a vital role in relieving traffic congestion and cleaning our air," Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said. Governor Schwarzenegger was instrumental in providing $20 million in state funds for OAC.  "Today's action is integral to jump-starting this design-build project and getting shovels in the ground as quickly as possible. This is exactly the type of project I was envisioning when I championed Proposition 1B in 2006, because it is helping provide residents a reliable, carbon-free and direct connection between regional transit and the region's second largest airport."

Today’s Board decision re-authorizes the General Manager to enter into a contract with California based Flatiron/Parsons Joint Venture to design and build the 3.2 mile automated people mover (APM) and authorizes the General Manager to enter a contract with Doppelmayr Cable Car, Inc. to operate and maintain the connector once it’s built.  Both firms were originally awarded the contract in December 2009.

Fast, Frequent & Reliable Service for Air Travelers & Thousands of Jobs
The $484 million project is expected to create between 2,500 and 5,000 direct and indirect jobs during the three-and-a half-year construction phase, which could begin as early as late 2010. 

Once built, the connector will replace the AirBART busses that often are bogged down by Hegenberger Road traffic, Coliseum sporting events, freight trains and accidents, all of which create great angst for anxious air travelers rushing to make their flights. By contrast, the connector will be a far more relaxing ride.  The APMs will offer swift, reliable world-class service because they will be all electric and run on a fixed, elevated guideway above the congestion.  The APMs will arrive at the Coliseum BART Station every 4.5 minutes and will quickly transport air travelers to the airport in 8 minutes and 12 seconds with an on-time performance exceeding 99%.

QUICK FACTS

  • Construction could begin in late-2010;  3.5 years to complete
  • Creates between 2,500 and 5,000 direct & indirect jobs
  • 8 min 12 sec travel time between Coliseum BART & Oakland Airport