Friday, February 10, 2012

BART to take closer look at Livermore Extension

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San Fransisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit is moving ahead to form a partnership and intensify research into the possibility of extending service to Livermore. The BART Board of Directors voted unanimously to direct staff to advance the proposed BART to Livermore Project, Phase 1 to the next level of project development, including environmental review, conceptual engineering, development of Ridership Development Plans and analysis of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

The board also directed staff to initiate the establishment of a project partnership to, among other things, seek external funding sources to advance the project with no impact on funding for essential BART capital needs.

"We're hoping to form a closer partnership with the city of Livermore and the Alameda County Transportation Commission as we study this critical link to the Tri-Valley," BART Board President John McPartland said. "It's also important to note that as we move forward, we'll do so with full public access and public participation. We're going to listen to and respond to our potential riders in the Tri-Valley and to the Bay Area as a whole."

The project would extend BART five miles to a transfer station and express bus service. Preliminary estimates are a daily ridership of about 21,000 new riders in 2035. A BART extension to Livermore was initially identified in the 1957 Rail Plan, the first blueprint for the BART system. In 2007, the San Francisco Regional Rail Plan affirmed a Livermore extension as a vital link needed to connect to the regional rail network.

Among the next steps, are completing a project level Environmental Impact Report, which will include a detailed examination of factors such as the impact of alternative alignments and modes of transportation. No BART money will be used to fund the EIR. The overall cost for the project is still being studied, with estimates ranging from $800 million to $1.2 billion.

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