LBJ at BART groundbreaking 50 years ago this week
50 years ago on June 19, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson was the honored guest for the official groundbreaking of BART on the outskirts of Concord that celebrated the start of construction on the 4.5 mile Diablo Test Track. The track would eventually become part of the Concord line.
Johnson praised the project as being a "...victory for vision...”. Here is a link to the complete text of his speech.
He then pushed the plunger to set off dynamite marking the beginning of construction.
The test track was a lab for research. Every component of the system was tested there: laying track, power sources, the train propulsion system and more. Four different train control systems were tested. Westinghouse Electric Company had the winning low bid of $26 million.
The new train control system being proposed today is estimated to cost between $700-900 million.
The original BART system’s final cost was $1.6 billion on opening day in 1972, 43 years later there are $6 billion in unfunded capital needs just to maintain the current system.