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BART Silicon Valley Expansion Plan Roars Forward

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) -- BART's Silicon Valley expansion plan is roaring forward under budget and ahead of schedule, transit officials say.

The extension has two phases: one goes from Warm Springs in Fremont, through Milpitas then to Berryessa in San Jose. The second phase goes from Berryessa to Santa Clara.

The BART extension into San Jose is ahead of schedule and under budget, but that's not the only reason the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) general manager is in a good mood.

VTA general manager and CEO Nuria Fernandez said, "I am delighted that the federal government has seen once again the quality of our grant application."

$1.5 million to be exact. The federal grant will go towards planning the next phase of BART into downtown San Jose and Santa Clara.

The agency says the focus will be on making the stations and the development around them easily accessible, and beautiful.

"But they're going to be very attractive stations. And if you've visited other countries or other parts of the world, you can make an underground station attractive and aesthetically pleasing," Fernandez said.

We got a sneak peek of the Berryessa station in San Jose, which is still very much under construction.

There's the platform, the kiss and ride area, the main entrance, even a dedicated walkway to the flea market.

The federal transit administration likes the VTA's approach in finding smart ways to put homes, offices, shops, and restaurants near transit hubs.

Acting administrator of the Federal Transit Administration Carolyn Flowers said, "Access and mobility are key attributes that we're looking for in these planning grants. And this is a way to combine those benefits."

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) said, "President Obama likes the Bay Area, he has been very supportive of our efforts."

Lofgren says the Obama administration has been key in getting funding for Bay Area projects and moving them forward.

We're also getting word that the new Warm Springs BART station in South Fremont could open before Election Day, according to the San Francisco Business Times.

The long-awaited station would add nearly 5.5 miles of new tracks from the current last stop in Fremont.

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