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BART Board awards Oakland Airport Connector contract

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The struggling Bay Area economy just received a big boost thanks to the BART Board, whose vote also means BART customers will finally have a swift, world-class train-to-plane connection between the Coliseum BART Station and the Oakland Airport. After two decades of planning and debate, the Board of Directors voted seven to one to award California-based Flatiron/Parsons Joint Venture the contract to design and build the 3.2-mile automated people mover. The Board also voted seven to one to award Doppelmayr Cable Car, Inc., the contract to operate and maintain the connector once built.

The $492-million project, which will use $70 million in federal
stimulus money, should create up to 5,000 direct and indirect jobs
during the three and a half year construction phase, which should begin
in mid-2010.

Once built, the connector will replace the
AirBART buses that often are bogged down by Hegenberger Road traffic,
Coliseum sporting events, freight trains and accidents, all of which
create great angst for anxious air travelers rushing to make their
flights. By contrast, the connector will be a far more relaxing ride.
The APMs will be all electric and run on a fixed, elevated guideway
above the congestion. The APMs will arrive at the Coliseum BART Station
every 4.5 minutes and will quickly transport air travelers to the
airport in 8 minutes and 12 seconds with an on-time performance
exceeding 99%.

"This is a historic day for the Bay Area economy
and BART," Board President Thomas Blalock said. "This project will put
people to work beginning early next year. Once completed, it will
provide the East Bay with a system that will swiftly transport people
between BART and the airport and cause millions of air travelers to
wonder how they could have ever lived without it."

The total
cost of the project is $492 million – or $60 million less than the $552
million BART estimated in April. A competitive bidding environment led
to lower than projected costs.

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