Wednesday, June 18, 2014

SCVTA's BART Silicon Valley project could reap benefits of California's budget

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (SCVTA) says its Bay Area Rapid Transportation (BART) Silicon Valley Project, Phase II, is well positioned to receive unanticipated funding through the state's Cap and Trade Program, included in the 2014-15 state budget spending plan.

 

Currently, the second phase of SCVTA's planned extension of the regional BART system is in project development. This 24-month project phase includes refining the project scope, state and federal environmental reviews and identifying and solidifying a funding plan. Up until now, the funding plan was comprised of only local and federal money.

SCVTA explainted the adopted budget bill and a series of "trailer bills" implement two aspects of the Cap and Trade expenditure plan: a budget year (2014-15) appropriation with fixed dollar amounts going to specified programs and, in 2015-16 and thereafter, specified programs will receive set percentages of annual Cap and Trade proceeds. Most significantly, beginning in fiscal year 2015, 15 percent of Cap and Trade revenues will be specifically dedicated to regional and local public transit purposes.

SCVTA's BART Silicon Valley Extension Phase II is positioned to compete for this funding because the project meets the criteria of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, auto trips and vehicle miles traveled, as well as its integration into the overall local, regional and state transit network, including the future high-speed rail system. SCVTA will pursue Cap and Trade revenues to supplement local and federal dollars and meet its long-standing commitment to bring BART through downtown San Jose.

"Drought, flooding, water scarcity and air pollution are direct consequences of climate change which negatively impact people's livelihoods, health and our ecosystem," stated Ash Kalra, SCVTA Board chair. "Transportation contributes nearly 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in California. Cars, trucks and transit must be part of any strategy preventing or reducing the impacts of climate change. VTA's extension of BART will significantly reduce greenhouse gasses and improve our quality of life here in Silicon Valley."

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