BART customers will soon have rail service to East Contra Costa County thanks to the eBART extension project, which officially broke ground in a ceremony on Friday, October 29, 2010. eBART, shorthand for east Contra Costa BART extension, is a 10-mile extension from Pittsburg/Bay Point Station to the City of Antioch.
“Once again, BART is going to create jobs, not just transport people to their jobs,” BART Board President James Fang said. “eBART will provide more than 600 jobs during construction and then, once it’s in operation, eBART will provide about 40 to 80 permanent jobs.
eBART is being built in coordination with the Highway 4 widening project. It’s expected to carry as many people as an additional lane of Highway 4 when it begins service, which is expected to be in 2015.
“We think eBART is going to make a significant contribution to relieving the freeway congestion in East County,” said BART Board Member Joel Keller. Keller represents BART District 2, which includes Pittsburg and Antioch. “eBART’s going to allow East County residents to board a train at Hillcrest Avenue and be at the Pittsburg/Bay Point Station in 10 minutes. That’s going to mean convenient and cost-effective public transportation for East County.”
Tracks will extend beyond the Pittsburg/Bay Point Station down the median of Highway 4, through Pittsburg and terminate east of Hillcrest Avenue in Antioch.
$462 Million Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) Project
The $462 million eBART extension will use Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) technology. DMU is extremely effective for this project because it would take over $1 billion to extend service with traditional BART train technology.
“The $462 million eBART project is 60% less expensive than conventional BART,” BART Board Member Gail Murray said. "Nothing about eBART precludes construction of conventional BART in the future, given adequate ridership and funding."
Good for environment
DMU trains are environmentally sustainable and use ultra-low sulfur fuel and meet all applicable U.S. and California air quality standards. DMU trains are used throughout Europe. Here in California, San Diego County also uses a DMU system, the popular Sprinter line.
eBART is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 260,000 lbs. per day and reduce the consumption of petroleum.
"With every passing year, the Bay Area is increasingly the envy of smart growth advocates the world over,” Congressman John Garamendi said. “Linking together and expanding our public transit networks through eBART puts our neighbors to work, reduces congestion, improves our air quality, and increases the potential of livable communities in Contra Costa County and beyond. Our region is a leader in promoting 21st century transportation, and we should be proud of that."
The cities of Antioch and Pittsburg have prepared Ridership Development Plans (RDPs) for their communities in the form of Specific Plans. The RDPs are comprehensive station area plans that analyze land use and access to the future station sites. These plans focus on the area within the half-mile radius around the future eBART stations.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission provided 60 percent of the money for the $462 million project ($263 million from bridge tolls and $20 million from other sources).