Public Comments Still Welcome for BART Phase II Environmental Review
02/03/2017
Brandi Childress

A series of public meetings drew strong interest in the environmental impact expected from building the next phase of the largest transportation infrastructure project in Santa Clara County history. The comment period remains open for about two more weeks.
 
Phase II of VTA’s BART Silicon Valley Extension will run 6 miles from the soon to be completed Berryessa Station, under downtown San Jose, to the Santa Clara Caltrain Station.  Five miles of the stretch will run more than 4 stories below ground as a subway. 
 
At three public hearings, VTA’s staff took questions and comments about how the area surrounding the commuter line construction project would fare during the 7 year project.  The hearings were held in East San Jose, where a BART station is proposed for Alum Rock/28th Street, Downtown San Jose, Diridon Station, and Santa Clara, whose proposed BART Phase II station is the end of the line in Silicon Valley.
 
The 45-day public comment period, from December 28, 2016 to February 20, 2017, is the next step in the process to identify and figure out how to mitigate the negative impacts of the work. The final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement/Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (SEIS/SEIR) will include responses to the comments and questions raised during the public comment period.  
 
Among the proposals for the 5-mile underground stretch from Highway 101 and Alum Rock to Diridon Station  is the option of a “single bore” tunnel , in which the train tracks will be stacked one above the other, with trains running in opposite directions.  That option is expected to be less disruptive to businesses and residents near the construction zone than the original “twin bore” plan, with two tunnels side by side.  Both options are on the table, with a decision on one coming later this year.
 
The environmental review process culminates in December of this year with an anticipated “Record of Decision” from the Federal Transit Administration which is needed in order for VTA to pursue $1.5 billion in federal funding needed to complete the project.
 
Although the public hearings have concluded, the review and comment period for the Draft SEIS/SEIR is open until February 20th
 
Details for submitting comments:
Written comments on the Draft SEIS/SEIR should be sent to:
Mail:   Tom Fitzwater, SVRT Environmental Planning Manager
             VTA Environmental Programs & Resources Management,
             3331 North First Street, Building B-2
             San Jose, CA 95134
Email:  BARTPhase2EIS-EIR@vta.org 

Comments must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. on February 20, 2017

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