BART is getting an injection of funds from the Federal Transit Administration so the agency can purchase additional railcars and run more trains through the Transbay Tube during peak commute hours.

The FTA announced Monday a $1.2 billion funding grant agreement with BART to help fund part of its Transbay Corridor Core Capacity Program, which includes 252 new railcars, a new communications-based train control system, a new railcar storage yard at the agency’s Hayward Maintenance Complex and six new power substations.

Officials say the program will eventually increase the number of trains traveling through the Transbay Tube from 23 to 30 trains during busiest commute times.

Bob Powers, BART general manager, said in a statement:

“This is a huge day for BART and anyone who needs to get across the Bay during commute hours.”

BART says the new modernized train control system will enable the additional trains to run through the tube smoothly. The agency’s Board of Directors in January approved a $798 million contract with Hitachi Rail STS USA, Inc. to design and replace the existing 47-year-old system.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-San Francisco, who led a Bay Area delegation in May 2019, urged Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao to move the project forward.

In a statement, Feinstein said:

“These improvements are even more necessary amid the coronavirus pandemic. More rail cars and more frequent trains will make social distancing on public transport easier while allowing essential workers to commute to their employers.”

The total project cost is $2.7 billion with $1.2 billion committed by the FTA. BART expects to complete the Core Capacity Program sometime in 2030, according to the agency’s website.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to jerold@sfbay.ca or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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