Santa Clara Valley, CA, BART Silicon Valley (SVBX) Project

BART Silicon Valley station

BART Silicon Valley (SVBX) Project

BART Extension MapLocation: Santa Clara Valley, California, United States

Project owner: Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA)

Project type: Transit

Budget: More than $1 billion

Project description:
BART Silicon Valley Berryessa Extension Project (SVBX) is a 10.2-mile extension of a heavy rail transit system in the San Francisco Bay Area - - Phase 1 of a larger infrastructure project. SVBX is intended to provide increased transit access to and from Santa Clara County employment and activity centers for residents of Santa Clara County and of the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

How it satisfies the "triple bottom line" approach (economic environmental, social), including innovative aspects:
Economic: This project will be funded with local, state and federal dollars. The project is in the final design phase of the FTA New Starts Program and has met stringent requirements to qualify for federal funding. The Berryessa Extension Project is currently recommended for a $900 million grant from the FTA and a full funding grant agreement is anticipated in January 2012. BART Silicon Valley is estimated to have a high return on investment, with a projected long-term return of $4-$10 for every dollar invested in the project. The project continues to demonstrate its economic viability, with cost-benefit analysis that consider longer-term operational and maintenance costs as well as up-front costs in relation to the benefits of various measures taken. Understanding and retaining control of the sustainability process is thus important to the project team, and having guidelines to go by contribute to that necessary control. In addition to referencing sustainability guidelines, both the RFP selection criteria and the contract language for the first major contract for the project have built in weighted Design/Builder incentives relative to value-added innovation and sustainability, subject to approval by the project owner.
Environmental: For the first major contract, the project developed a number of strict Division 01 specifications for environmental compliance that fulfill requirements set forth in NEPA and CEQA documents. Sustainability opportunities were researched for track material and design, waste management, urban creek habitat restoration, reuse of freight corridor, renewable energy, and more. The project also developed a separate Division 01 sustainability specification that supplements the environmental requirements. The sustainability specification requires application of green building practices; preparation and submittal of a Sustainability Plan that adheres to mandatory and voluntary requirements in green building standards (CALGreen, effective January 2011); and plan implementation in a manner that supports the Owner and Operator sustainability policies and commitments. 
Social: Social: Vehicle emissions as well as regional traffic congestion are being reduced as a result of the project. Rapid transit service in the SVBX corridor would provide an improved travel alternative to Interstates 880 and 680 between Alameda and Santa Clara counties, both of which are experiencing severe and worsening congestion. The project and station area planning are prompting land use and zoning changes. Since VTA purchased an eastern portion of the Union Pacific Railroad corridor in 2002 to provide a public transit alternative, existing land uses are being converted from large industrial uses and brownfields to transit-supportive, higher density, mixed-use developments that include office, commercial, retail, housing, parks and urban trails. Future planned construction in proximity to station areas will be pedestrian-oriented and support transit. The project also adheres to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, while providing opportunities for public participation and community meetings in the predominant languages spoken in the county. BART service in Santa Clara County will serve key areas that have been identified as having highly diverse populations along with a high percentage of the population at or below the poverty level. Household incomes in east San Jose average 30 percent less than the rest of the county. In areas within close proximity to the future BART stations, a higher than average percentage of individuals report not owning an automobile.

Categories of innovation:  Project pathway, project strategy and management, communities: long and short term effects, land use and restoration, ecology and biodiversity, water resources and environment, energy and carbon, resource management including waste. 

Additional resources for information:  (PDF)

For more about this project: Tom Fitzwater, VTA Environmental/Sustainability Manager, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority;, 408-321-5707

Submitted by: Tom Fitzwater

Date submitted:  July 14, 2011

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