Woman waving out the driver's window of a new BART train while people wait on the platform
Money collected from Measure B is to be split among nine categories, including BART expansion. Photo courtesy of BART.

    As part of its Capital Program Committee meeting Thursday, VTA gave an update on the BART Silicon Valley extension. This 10-mile stretch of fresh track includes two stations, one in Milpitas and another at Berryessa, near the San Jose Flea Market.

    As part of its agreement with BART, VTA will hand over the operation of these two stations to BART once they’re completed. As it currently stands, both parties are still actively involved, testing for flaws and coming up with solutions. Problems from a flaky rail intrusion detection system, busted emergency telephones, and broken locks on fire suppression system control panels have kept both agencies busy.

    The high number of reported issues remains high, at 1,036 total, but that’s not the entire story. VTA Deputy Director Dennis Ratcliffe reassured those convened that this number was higher than it seemed.

    “Essentially, what we’ve reported is we had identified 1,000 discrepancies in the testing program… where the teams are validating and verifying design to ensure that things are functioning as planned. There’s almost 300 of them that are blank duplicates,” Ratcliffe said.

    In reality, Ratcliffe said, there are only 292 real reported issues left to fix and that, “all of (the issues) have a known root cause, they have a known solution, they have a plan for resolution.”

    “So the numbers here not staggering,” he added.”These are pretty ordinary, and can be expected at this stage of the game.”

    Ratcliffe also detailed the working relationship between the two partner agencies as the work concludes. “I know there’s been some confusion about the early days,” he said. “At this time, the combined VTA/BART team working on the job remains competent and (we) believe that (Phase I) will go into revenue service before the end of the year.”

    Mark your calendars: if no more showstopping issues arise, the new BART stations are set to open for service on Dec. 31, 2019.

    Contact Brendan Nystedt at [email protected] or follow @bnystedt on Twitter.

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