BART's Transbay Corridor Core Capacity Program earns billion dollar federal grant


BART's Transbay Corridor Core Capacity Program earns billion dollar federal grant

BART’s long-term effort to reduce crowding and increase service across the Bay is getting a critical funding boost. The Federal Transit Administration has issued a $1.2 billion Full Funding Grant Agreement for BART’s Transbay Corridor Core Capacity Program.  This comes after the conclusion of a legally mandated 30-day congressional review of the grant. The funding is vital as BART prepares for a rebound in ridership over the coming years. This is the largest grant BART has ever received.

“This is a huge day for BART and anyone who needs to get across the Bay during commute hours,” said BART General Manager Bob Powers.  “I want to personally thank Secretary Elaine Chao, FTA Acting Administrator Jane Williams, FTA Region IX Administrator Ray Tellis, FTA Executive Director Matt Welbes, and FTA staff.  I also want to thank Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi; Senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein; Oakland Congresswoman Barbara Lee and the Bay Area Congressional Delegation; and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission for their critical support and advocacy for this grant.”

“For residents of the Bay Area, BART is a vital service, central to the strength of our economy and our communities,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  “With this commitment of $1.2 billion in federal funding for the Transbay Corridor Core Capacity initiative, BART will be able to increase the frequency of trains between San Francisco and the East Bay as well as grow capacity by 45 percent, improve service for millions of riders every year and maintain its position as a leading public transportation network.  It was my privilege to join my Bay Area colleagues in Congress to ensure BART receives this essential capital grant as we continue to fight for needed transit funds in the Heroes Act to build on the $1.3 billion in transit support for the Bay Area we passed in the CARES Act.  We remain committed to ensuring that all Bay Area workers, businesses, families and visitors can continue to benefit and grow from BART’s essential service for generations to come.”

Funding from the federal government for this program comes from a specific 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 a maximum of 24 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 Transbay Corridor Core Capacity Program includes four elements:

• Additional rail cars: 252 additional railcars to provide the trains needed to increase capacity through the Transbay Tube.

• 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.