The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority's Board of Directors unanimously voted Thursday, December 8, 2011, to award the first major contract for BART Silicon Valley, to Skanska-Shimmick-Herzog a Joint Venture.This first contract includes completing the design and construction of the line, track, systems and stations for the 10-mile Berryessa Extension Project, the first phase of the 16-mile BART Extension into Santa Clara County. "Today's vote by the VTA Board keeps faith with the voters and taxpayers of Silicon Valley, who cast visionary votes in 2000 and 2008 that made the dream of BART service to Silicon Valley a reality," said Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino. The decision marks a key project milestone and will immediately generate local jobs. Nearly 5,500 jobs will be created during the construction of the line, track, systems and stations elements of the Berryessa Extension. An additional 4,000 indirect jobs are created due to activities related to this contract and 3,800 more jobs are created to support construction of the station campus areas, access roadways, parking structures and transit centers. "The extension of BART into the South Bay is the priority project in VTA's Measure A Transportation Improvement Program. Skanska-Shimmick-Herzog a Joint Venture, was able to propose constructing the Berryessa Extension at $77 million less than the engineer's estimate while also accelerating the construction schedule, making it possible to deliver BART sooner than 2018," stated Margaret Abe Koga, chair, VTA Board of Directors. Skanska-Shimmick-Herzog a Joint Venture brings more than 150 years experience to the project management team. VTA is seeking a $900 million federal grant for the Berryessa Extension Project from the Federal New Starts funding program and anticipates receipt of it early next year. The grant will complete the funding plan and enable major construction to begin by mid-2012. BART Silicon Valley's Communications and Outreach team will conduct public meetings prior to commencement of major construction activities. VTA continues project development activities for the second six-mile phase of the project that includes a 5.1 mile-long subway tunnel through downtown San Jose and ends in Santa Clara near the Caltrain Station. Construction on the second phase of the project will commence as additional funding is secured.