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Home > Environmental Process Phase II
Phase I Phase II
Environmental Approval Process

Map of project area with graphics overlaid on top of it. Click here to link to the Environmental Compliance page. image button of Phase II CWGs - click here to go to page Conceptual rendering of BART station near a creek with a fence. Click here to link to Environmental Compliance page.

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Phase II Overview

VTA’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Silicon Valley Program is a voter–approved, regional transportation project that is planned to extend BART from southern Fremont in Alameda County through the cities of Milpitas, San Jose, and Santa Clara in Santa Clara County. Once completed, the project will close a significant gap in the regional rail system and provide commuter rail connections to the region’s three major metropolitan centers: San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland.

photo of BART train at stationVTA’s BART Silicon Valley Program is being built in phases. The Berryessa Extension Project (Phase I) is currently under construction and is projected to open in 2018. The Phase II Extension Project (Phase II) will include a 5-mile long subway tunnel through downtown San Jose and will extend the BART system from the future Phase I terminus for approximately six miles. Phase II includes four stations: Alum Rock/28th Street, Downtown San Jose, Diridon, and Santa Clara.

Phase II of VTA’s BART Silicon Valley Program required an approved Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement/Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (SEIS/SEIR) to become eligible for federal and state funding. A combined SEIS/SEIR was developed to evaluate and environmentally clear the Phase II Project.

Why an SEIS/SEIR?

NEPA and CEQA require government agencies to identify adverse environmental impacts associated with a project and to avoid, minimize, or mitigate those adverse impacts.
  • Preparation of a Supplemental EIS (SEIS) for NEPA is required to receive federal funding, and preparation of a Subsequent EIR (SEIR) for CEQA is required to environmentally clear the Phase II Project.
  • Although state environmental clearances were obtained in 2004 and 2007 for a 16-mile, 6-station project, VTA decided to build the project in phases and, in 2011, environmentally cleared the construction of a 10-mile, 2-station project, now called Phase I. The draft federal environmental document that was circulated in 2009 also addressed a 10-mile, 2-station project and a 16-mile, 6-station project. FTA approved the 10-mile, 2-station project in 2010. The remaining 6-mile alignment, including 4-stations, did not receive federal environmental clearance. An update for the remaining 6 miles, called Phase II, is necessary under both CEQA and NEPA due to changed background conditions, changed laws and regulations, and changes to the project. Therefore, because of these changes, a combined SEIS/SEIR was prepared.
  • The combined environmental document:
    • Defined the project information.
    • Identified potential effects of project construction and operation.
    • Included measures to avoid, minimize, or mitigate adverse impacts.
    • Disclosed project impacts, mitigation, and public comments and responses.

Phase II Alignment map

Opportunities for Public Participation and Input

Scoping (Completed)
What it was:
  • The first step in an open process for determining the scope of issues to be addressed and for identifying the significant issues related to the proposed project.
  • The public scoping period began on January 30, 2015 and ended on March 2, 2015. VTA recorded and included all comments in the Scoping Report, which is available to the public on the web site.
What VTA did:
  • Developed and presented project alternatives and options.
  • Conducted public scoping meetings.
  • Publicized meetings via mail, email, newspaper advertisements, and media.
What the public did during scoping:
  • Attended public scoping meetings to learn about the project – three meetings were held in February 2015 in the Alum Rock neighborhood, downtown San Jose, and in Santa Clara.
  • Provided input on what should be studied in the Draft SEIS/ SEIR.
  • Reviewed and commented on the scope and focus of the environmental analysis via mail, email, or at the scoping meetings. VTA received over 350 comments.
Draft SEIS/SEIR (Spring 2015-Fall 2016) (Completed)
Included:
  • Technical studies and Draft SEIS/SEIR.
  • Project impacts and evaluate alternatives and options.
  • Mitigation measures based on potential impacts and ongoing community input.
What the public did:
  • Attended and engaged in BART Phase II Funding strategies workshop in winter 2016.
Phase II timeline

Public Review and Comment On Draft SEIS/SEIR (Completed)

What VTA did:
  • Circulated Draft SEIS/SEIR.
  • Hosted public meetings to present results of the analysis and received comments on Draft SEIS/SEIR.
What the public did:
  • Attended public meetings to provided formal comments about the project as part of the environmental process.
  • Reviewed Draft SEIS/SEIR and provided comments to VTA via mail, email, or at the public meetings during the 45-day public comment period.
Prepared and Circulated Final SEIS/SEIR (Completed)
What VTA did:
  • Prepared responses to comments on the Draft SEIS/SEIR, which were included in the Final SEIS/SEIR.
  • Released the Final SEIS/SEIR in February 2018.
What the public did:
  • Read the Final SEIS/SEIR and provided comments to the VTA Board of Directors and FTA for them to consider before project approval.

VTA Board Approval of the Project (Completed)
What VTA did:
  • Presented the findings of the Draft SEIS/SEIR to the VTA Board of Directors, who certified the SEIR and approved the Project, including the Downtown San Jose Station - West Option, Diridon Station - North Option, and the Single-Bore Option as the tunneling methodology on April 5, 2018. Submit application to FTA to enter the New Starts Engineering phase in the funding process (Summer 2018). 
What the public did:
  • Attended VTA's Board of Directors's April 5, 2018 meeting.
  • Provided written comments at the meeting and/or gave verbal comments during the April 5, 2018 VTA's Board of Director's meeting.  
FTA  Approval of the Project (Completed)
What FTA did:
  • Considered the project and environmental impacts and issued the Record of Decision (ROD) on June 4, 2018.

For information regarding the Final Phase II Environmental Documentation, please click here.

 

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