BART thanks FTA for efforts to fund project to increase capacity


BART thanks FTA for efforts to fund project to increase capacity

The Federal Transit Administration has notified Congress that it intends to issue a Full Funding Grant Agreement for BART’s Transbay Corridor Core Capacity Program after a legally mandated 30-day congressional review of the proposed grant. Though not the final step in the approval of federal funding for the program, this decision is a required step in BART’s effort to secure federal dollars to expand the system’s transbay capacity.

“Though the 30 day congressional review is still needed for us to realize the funding we’re seeking, this is a huge step forward in BART’s long-term efforts to expand transbay capacity to meet the future needs of the Bay Area,” said BART General Manager Bob Powers.  “I want to personally thank Secretary Elaine Chao and FTA Acting Administrator Jane Williams, and numerous FTA staff.”

Funding from the federal government for this program comes from a specific fund source for capital projects and cannot be used to support BART operations. It must remain committed to the Core Capacity Program. Moving the program forward doesn’t eliminate BART’s urgent need for emergency funding to continue running trains and fill budget shortfalls brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Once the region’s economy recovers after the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for transbay travel is expected to rise dramatically.  BART was running 23 trains in the peak commute hour in each direction through the Transbay Tube before shelter-in-place orders took effect in the Bay Area in March.  The Core Capacity Program will allow BART to increase the number of transbay trains it operates during its busiest period to 30 per hour in each direction.  In the FTA’s annual report on the Capital Investment Grant Program released in March, BART’s Transbay Corridor Core Capacity Program received the highest rating in the country for a large project.

The Systemwide Corridor Core Capacity Program includes four elements:

• Additional rail cars: 306 additional railcars to provide the trains needed to increase capacity.

• Train control modernization: A new Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) system that will allow more trains per hour through the Transbay Tube.

• New railcar storage yard: To accommodate the additional rail cars needed for higher frequency service, BART will build a new storage yard on BART-owned property at the Hayward Maintenance Complex.

• Traction power substations: With more frequent and longer trains, BART will need to enhance the electrical system that powers them by building five new substations in San Francisco and the East Bay.