BART Board conditionally earmarks $2.5 million for additional station along eBART extension
A future additional station along the eBART extension could receive a $2.5 million boost thanks to a vote Thursday by the BART Board of Directors. BART Directors voted to earmark $2.5 million toward the cost of a Pittsburg Center Station at the intersection of Highway 4 and Railroad Avenue. BART’s contribution hinges on the project’s other partners raising the rest of the funds needed to pay the station’s $11.9 million costs.
The $2.5 million contribution was approved as a revision to BART’s FY 2014 budget, and is contingent on a funding agreement with other area transit agencies and the City of Pittsburg. If the funding partnership fails, BART’s $2.5 million stays in its operating reserves. Project proponents are optimistic the details will be worked out soon.
“This is a unique opportunity to potentially fund a new facility without financial risk to our existing facilities,” said BART Board President Joel Keller, who represents eastern Contra Costa County. “It’s also an important act of good faith to our project partners, particularly the City of Pittsburg.”
eBART is a 10-mile extension of BART-quality service from the existing Pittsburg/Bay Point Station to Hillcrest Avenue in Antioch. It’s expected to begin service in 2018. eBART is being built in coordination with Caltrans’ Highway 4 widening project to bring commute relief as soon as possible to East County.
eBART will use Diesel Multiple-Unit (DMU) trains, a technology with a lower cost than conventional BART. The $525 million eBART project, including two stations, is 60% less expensive than conventional BART.
The total cost for the Pittsburg Center Station is estimated to be $11.9 million. The City of Pittsburg has already agreed to provide $3.5 million of the total, and similar financial commitments are expected from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Contra Costa Transit Authority.
“The City of Pittsburg isn’t just standing on the sidelines,” said Pittsburg Mayor Sal Evola. “We have skin in the game – not only committing funds but also putting a Community Facilities District in place. Business owners and citizens voted to tax themselves to help ensure the eBART extension includes a station in Pittsburg.”
The future eBART Pittsburg Center Station will be located three miles east of the Pittsburg/Bay Point BART station and has been a concept since the 1990s. The station is expected to increase BART ridership by 20 percent. BART expects the station to support future Transit Oriented Development, such as office buildings, retail and multi-family housing centered around public transportation.
“Our vision for the Pittsburg Center Station is to create a vibrant, walkable transit-oriented area at the crossroads of our community,” said Pittsburg Vice Mayor Pete Longmire. “We want to promote development that is environmentally sound and makes sense economically.”
Nothing about eBART precludes construction of conventional BART in the future if ridership and funding are adequate. For more information about eBART, click here.