As work continues to bring BART service farther into East Contra Costa County, funding for two key pieces of the 10-mile extension has been locked into place.
Pittsburg recently set aside $1.3 million for a future station site near Railroad Avenue, allowing for the foundation for a station to be built for eBART, BART's extension from the Pittsburg/Bay Point station into the region using diesel-powered trains rather than electric cars. Trains will run down the median of Highway 4.
The BART board also approved a $23.6 million contract with Benicia-based Lathrop Construction Associates Inc. last week to build a parking lot and maintenance facility at the new Antioch station just east of the Hillcrest Avenue.
That project is expected to begin in late summer, said Ric Rattray, BART project manager.
The $462 million eBART project is expected to be completed by the end of 2016. Work continues on a transfer station east of the existing station. There is money in place only for the Antioch station, though BART planners are studying potential sites and ridership for a third station in the Brentwood area.
Pittsburg's funding included sending $800,000 to BART to ensure construction of a foundation is included, City Manager Joe Sbranti said.
"We want to make sure we're prepared for when potential funding sources become available," Sbranti said. "We didn't want them to have to come back and tear up the track work."
Mayor Ben Johnson added, "It's important for our city and our planning."
The city will pay the remaining $500,000 as an incentive to BART if the station is built before Dec. 31, 2020.
"We're glad they were able to find the resources to enable us to engineer and prepare the area for a future station. It will be a benefit to the region," BART director Joel Keller said.
A new station would help alleviate traffic across the city, as the Pittsburg/ Bay Point station is about four miles west of Railroad, Johnson said. The city has long-term plans to build some parking, public housing and transit access around the future station.
The Contra Costa Transportation Authority and other regional transportation agencies are searching for extra dollars, including cost savings from current project bids, to build the Pittsburg station, Johnson said.
For example, BART engineers estimated the parking lot and maintenance yard project would cost $31.2 million, but the approved bid came in 24 percent below that amount.
The estimated $12 million to $15 million infill station is a cost-effective way to boost local ridership, Sbranti said.
BART studies estimate there would be about 8,400 daily trips with just the Hillcrest station by 2030, but 10,100 with both Railroad and Hillcrest stations.
BART must show it can create 10,000 daily trips per day with the new service to justify its funding from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Keller said.
At one time in the mid-2000s, Pittsburg had offered to solely fund its own station with money from its redevelopment agency. However, after some initial discussions, the offer quickly did not pencil out, Sbranti said.
The state's cancellation of redevelopment agencies led some to believe that a Pittsburg station was off the table. But Keller said he remained optimistic.
"It's been one uphill challenge after another all the way that we've had to overcome," Keller said.
Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.