BART Board awards Oakland Airport Connector contract in historic vote


BART Board awards Oakland Airport Connector contract in historic vote

The struggling Bay Area economy just received a big boost thanks to the BART Board, whose historic vote today also means BART customers will finally have a swift, world-class train-to-plane connection between the Coliseum BART Station and the Oakland Airport.

After two decades of planning and debate, the Board of Directors voted seven to one to award California-based Flatiron/Parsons Joint Venture the contract to design and build the 3.2-mile automated people mover (APM). The Board also voted seven to one to award Doppelmayr Cable Car, Inc. the contract to operate and maintain the connector once built.         
The $492 million project, which will use $70 million in federal stimulus money, should create up to 5,000 direct and indirect jobs during the three and a half year construction phase, which should begin in mid-2010. 

Once built, the connector will replace the AirBART buses 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%.

"This is a historic day for the Bay Area economy and BART," Board President Thomas Blalock said. "This project will put people to work beginning early next year.  Once completed, it will provide the East Bay with a system that will swiftly transport people between BART and the airport and cause millions of air travelers to wonder how they could have ever lived without it."

"Nearly all of the world’s greatest airports vie for the opportunity to build a train-to-plane connection like this BART project," Board Vice President and longest-serving board member James Fang said. "Today BART takes the momentous and necessary step of connecting the two world-class airports of the BART district.  Through this 100% electric, green and efficient connection, BART further solidifies its important role in contributing to the Bay Area’s reputation as the place all people want to come."

"This project is very important to the people of my district and 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."

The total cost of the project is $492 million – or $60 million less than the $552 million BART estimated in April.  A competitive bidding environment led to lower than projected costs.

For a video animation showing what the automated people mover will look like, visit BARTtv.