Bay City News Service -- Indicating that they know the way to San Jose, BART directors have unanimously approved a $299 million contract for the completion of the long-awaited Warm Springs extension in the southern part of Fremont.
BART officials say the 5.4-mile Warm Springs Extension is part of a larger plan to extend their service to the Silicon Valley.
The Santa Clara County Valley Transportation Authority has taken the lead in the next phase of the project, the Berryessa extension south of Warm Springs, which will bring BART closer to downtown San Jose.
Work on that project is scheduled to begin next year. The contract approved by board members on Thursday calls for Warm Springs Constructors of Fairfield to design and install the trackway and associated facilities as well as to build the future Warm Springs station, which is near the Alameda County-Santa Clara County border.
This is the second major contract approved for the extension. In 2009 BART directors awarded a $140 million contract to build the subway portion of the extension below Central Park in Fremont. BART officials said the subway section is now half-completed and they expect the station to open in 2015.
They said the Warm Springs extension, which has a total budget of $890 million, is currently $123 million under budget because the bad economy has resulted in a good bidding environment for BART.
BART Director Thomas Blalock, who represents the Fremont area, said the Warm Springs station will create tens of thousands of jobs in the short term for local residents who are out of work.
Blalock said in a statement, "In the long run, it means tens of thousands of East Bay commuters will be able to relax and ride environmentally-friendly BART instead of sitting frustrated and fuming at heavy freeway traffic while burning carbon-polluting, expensive gas."
In a related move, BART directors also voted to join with the city of Fremont to design and construct a $120 million station in the Irvington district in Fremont, which would be between the existing Fremont station and the Warm Springs station.
The money is to come from Fremont's redevelopment agency. The Fremont City Council approved the agreement on Tuesday.