US gives “critical” $1.2bn to boost BART’s rail capacity in San Francisco

Transit authorities in the San Francisco Bay Area are celebrating this week thanks to a $1.2bn federal grant to help pay for their long-planned, $2.7bn rail capacity-raising scheme to meet rising passenger demand.

The money will help the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) bump up the number of trains crossing under the bay between Oakland and San Francisco through the Transbay Tube from 23 an hour now to 30 an hour when the project is complete.

Billed as a "critical funding boost", it helps pay for 252 new trains, a new train control system to manage the higher traffic, a new railcar storage yard and traction power substations.

"This is a huge day for BART and anyone who needs to get across the Bay during commute hours," said BART General Manager Bob Powers. 

It is the biggest grant ever received by BART, and was made by the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) after a 30-day review by the US Congress.

"This investment in California will improve public transportation and support economic recovery in the Bay Area," said FTA Deputy Administrator K. Jane Williams.

Image: Diagram shows the approximate route of the Transbay Tube linking San Francisco on the right to Oakland on the left (Mliu92/CC BY-SA 4.0)

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