SAN JOSE, CA – VTA made a critical decision in its approach to secure federal funding for the BART Silicon Valley Phase II Extension (Phase II Project). VTA has submitted a request to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to transition the Phase II Project from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA)’s Expedited Project Delivery (EPD) Pilot Funding Program to FTA’s New Starts Funding Program. The New Starts Program allows for a substantially higher federal contribution, allowing VTA to make a preliminary federal funding request of 49% (vs. 25% for EPD). VTA participated in the FTA’s New Starts Funding Program for the BART Phase I Berryessa Extension Project, where the federal contribution was just under 40%.
Concurrently, during the federal funding process, VTA has requested continued pre-award authority, via a Letter of no Prejudice (LONP) from the FTA, which if granted, will enable VTA to continue advancing design, begin early construction works and purchase long lead items, including the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM). The LONP will also allow VTA to continue incurring specific project costs with the ability of reimbursement once a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) is executed. Other critical project activities will continue as planned, including a proposed Board authorization anticipated in December for purchase of the TBM and early work construction activities.
VTA’s updated funding plan as part of the initial submittal to the FTA is $9.318 billion, which reflects an increase of $180 million when compared to FTA’s 2021 risk assessment projection of $9.138 billion. (This is not a project cost estimate) This increase is mainly attributable to financing costs resulting from bond interest rates materially increasing during the past year and the need for earlier debt issuances. This funding plan includes, and will rely on, an additional $750 million of state funding from the state budget surplus. The additional state funding is essential in completing the overall funding plan to successfully support VTA’s federal funding application. VTA does not intend to pursue any additional local funding in the current funding plan, recognizing the substantial commitment already made by County residents throughout the years. This new funding plan contributes to VTA’s financial stability and provides additional financial resources for current and future VTA and BART extension operational and maintenance costs.
Over the next few months, VTA will prepare an updated project schedule and cost estimate to reflect current market conditions, risks, and advanced design; VTA is also seeking to have an independent cost estimate and schedule prepared.
Additionally, in response to ongoing inquiries and subsequent Board direction, over the last few months, an independent group of tunneling and station experts, led by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), have convened a peer review to evaluate the twin and single-bore tunneling methods and assess the trade-offs of each. The findings of this independent review will be presented at VTA’s November 3rd Board meeting at 5:30 pm.