Saturday, February 16, 2008

Future transit oriented development + BART to Warm Springs appears on track

Type: Medium to High density Mixed Use
Status: Under Development
Location: Fremont, California
Acreage: 30
Units: 550
Development Team:
Morley Bros., Riding Group, and Sobrato Development Companies
The Morley Bros. are developing 550 homes and retail, and working
with nearby property owners to master plan a true mixed use transit
oriented development totaling 2,000 homes and 100,000 square feet
of commercial/retail near the future BART Warms Springs station.
Construction on BART's extension to Warm Springs could start early next year, now that the funding gap has been significantly closed, officials said.

The Alameda County Congestion Management Authority will vote later this month to allocate $100 million toward the 5.4-mile extension.

In return for the allocation —

$15 million more than the agency first proposed — Fremont has pledged to devote $60 million of its future state transportation funds toward the Warm Springs extension.

The combined $160 million would significantly close the project's

$225 million shortfall. The remaining $65 million could come from state infrastructure bonds approved by voters last year, city officials said.

"BART to Warm Springs is closer to reality right now that it's ever been," Councilmember Bob Wieckowski said. He was in Washington, D.C., last week lobbying Bay Area representatives for an extra $30 million to cover expected cost overruns.

The $747 million project, which will extend BART south to the area near the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant, has been one of Fremont's top transit priorities for decades.

A new station in Warm Springs — and possibly one in Irvington — potentially relieves traffic on Interstates 880 and 680, opens up new development opportunities around the stations and sets the stage for extending BART service to San Jose.

Although the proposed $160 million doesn't completely close the funding gap, BART Director Tom Blalock said it should be enough to start construction.

BART, he added, is eager to start work early next year on the first stage: a train tunnel under Stevenson Boulevard and Central Park.

Cost estimates are expected to rise by $35 million for every year the project is delayed.

The Congestion Management Agency's proposed allocation, which was approved in principle earlier this month, is part of an update to the 25-year Countywide Transportation Plan. Updates are made every four years, so had the BART project not been fundedthis year, it likely would have been shelved, officials said.

Fremont's $60 million share amounts to nearly three-quarters of the $85 million in state transportation money it anticipates receiving during the next quarter century.

Assemblyman Alberto Torrico, D-Newark, is working on legislation that would allow the county to issue bonds in order to spend the money right away, Wieckowski said.

The extension tentatively is scheduled for completion in 2013.

With most of Fremont's transportation money going to the BART project, Wieckowski said there inevitably will be less money available for major road projects.

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