2000 Measure A
On August 9, 2000, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) Board of Directors voted to place a half-cent transit sales tax on the November 7, 2000 General Election ballot, allowing Santa Clara County voters the opportunity to vote on transportation improvements in the county. Measure A was approved by 70.3 percent of the voters and collection of the tax began in April 2006.
2008 Measure B: Operation and Maintenance Funding
The eighth-cent Measure B sales tax passed, receiving 66.78% of the vote, exceeding the two-thirds super majority. The sales tax will generate a dedicated revenue stream sufficient to fulfill VTA’s obligation to BART for the operation, maintenance, and future capital reserve of the system without impacting existing and planned service levels for VTA bus and light rail service.
The eighth-cent sales tax will only be collected when federal and state funds are secured. Federal funds will be considered secured and matched at the time VTA receives a Full Funding Grant Agreement or its equivalent of at least $750 million from the FTA. The federal government has never reneged on a Full Funding Grant Agreement.
Traffic Congestion Relief Program (TCRP)
In July 2011, VTA was allocated $40 million in TCRP funds by the California Transportation Commission (CTC), the third installment of an anticipated six, totaling almost $251 million. The first $40 million allocation was designated for project engineering during the final design stage. The latest allocation is for construction of the 10-mile Berryessa Extension.
New Starts Program
The Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) New Starts program is the federal government's primary discretionary financial resource for supporting locally planned, constructed, implemented, and operated major transit projects. This program funds new commuter rail, light rail, heavy rail, and bus rapid transit projects, streetcars, and ferries, as well as extensions to existing transit systems in every area of the country.
Local support required: New Starts projects, like all transportation investments in metropolitan areas, must emerge from a regional, multi-modal, transportation-planning process. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) that oversees transportation planning for the nine Bay Area counties. MTC has included the BART Silicon Valley Extension in their Transportation 2035 plan.
How projects are evaluated: New Starts projects undergo evaluation by the FTA throughout the entire project development process. Based on this evaluation, the FTA makes decisions about moving projects forward, from preliminary engineering to final design, to annual funding recommendations to Congress and to the execution of a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA). The FFGA is the multi-year contractual agreement between the FTA and VTA that formally defines the project scope, cost and schedule, and establishes the terms of federal financial assistance.
The project was given an overall project rating of medium in the FTA New Starts Annual Report for Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2011, which was released February 15, 2011. VTA has requested $900 million in federal New Starts funding, and the medium rating helped to positively position the project to qualify and compete for that funding.
In January 2012, VTA was notified by the FTA that the agency’s $900 million grant request for the project received all of the necessary administrative approvals. Based on the January notification, a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) was executed in March 2012, marking the final step before active construction can commence on the project. VTA officially broke ground on the Berryessa Extension Project on April 12, 2012.
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