LIVERMORE -- After decades of paying and waiting, BART to Livermore is closer than ever, but transportation and Alameda County leaders warn residents that the project's progress depends on an upcoming sales tax measure.
BART held a public meeting Wednesday in Livermore to collect input as it works on a report on the extension's possible environmental impacts. The project would extend train service 4.8 miles from its current end point at the Dublin-Pleasanton station to a station at Isabel Avenue at Interstate 580.
The $1.3 billion project is scheduled to receive $400 million in funding if Measure B1 -- which seeks to permanently raise the Alameda County sales tax from a half cent to a full cent -- receives a two-third majority on Nov. 6.
"It is going to be a difficult situation to resolve," said BART spokesman Jim Allison about the impact a failed Measure B1 would have on the extension. "We would have to look for other opportunities."
The Alameda County Transportation Commission, made of elected local and county officials, approved a 30-year, $7.8 billion spending plan if Measure B1 passes, which includes the $400 million for the Livermore BART extension. A rejection would delay the extension, Allison said.
BART has said the earliest a Livermore BART extension could open would be 2020.
Livermore residents have had a portion of their property taxes go toward BART for decades with the promise it would eventually snake its
"This next final step is overdue as far I as I am concerned," said John McPartland, the BART board president and district representative for the Tri-Valley. "It is good for the environment because it will get more cars off the freeways and reduce green house gases."
On Wednesday, about two dozen speakers made comments to BART on the extension, with many focusing on parking and bus timing for the proposed new station.
"We are no different from Oakland and Berkeley in our transportation needs, and we need BART as well," said Linda Jeffery Sailors, a Livermore resident and former Dublin mayor, who helped keep the BART alignment on I-580. "In order to encourage people to get off the road, we are going to need a very large parking area."
Speakers cited both parking lots at the West Dublin-Pleasanton and Dublin-Pleasanton stations, saying they are chronically packed and lacking space.
The push to get BART out to Livermore took a big step last year when the 40-year-old transit agency put out a plan that at first called for the service to veer from the freeway to downtown Livermore. A group of Livermore residents formed Keep BART on 580, which ended with the City Council supporting service that kept it in the I-580 median.
BART estimates that by 2035 the new station could boost ridership by 21,000 people per day.
The current plan calls for a station at Isabel and hopefully in the future one at Greenville. The price tag for the Greenville station has been pegged between $3 billion to $4 billion.
The deadline to submit written comments to BART about the Livermore extension is Oct. 1 and can be either emailed or faxed. For more information visit bart.gov.
Contact Robert Jordan at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/robjordan127.