East San Jose will get new VTA light rail connection to BART

A new light rail is coming to East San Jose thanks to a $46 million grant from the state. Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and local officials made the announcement today at VTA’s Eastridge Transit Center, which is a part of the rail extension. 

County and city officials say this extension is long overdue, and they’ve been working for two decades to improve transportation in East San Jose. They say this light rail will help more people get to work, get to school and stay connected to their families.  

"It will allow for light rail to be connected to BART, and to the highest operating transit hub in the County. It’s behind me. That is why today is so exciting," said Cindy Chavez, Santa Clara County Supervisor.     

Commuting throughout the Bay Area on public transportation will become a lot more convenient for people in East San Jose.  

"I think it’ll be real cool and convenient for many people who are commuting in East San Jose. It’ll be a great connect for people who want to commute," said  K-Kay, of San Jose.     

Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority says it will construct a light rail extension to connect the Alum Rock Light Rail Station to the Eastridge Transit Center.  

"You know this project is about more than connecting transit. It connects people to greater economic opportunity, to greater educational opportunity, to the Bay Area, to the larger region and to each other. It connects our neighborhoods," said Matt Mahan, San Jose Mayor.   

When the project is completed, riders will be able to use the Eastridge Transit Center and connect directly with BART at the Milpitas station. The new light rail will have an elevated guideway in the center of Capitol Expressway, an elevated station at Story Road and a street level station at the Eastridge Transit Center.  

"We wanted to do it pretty quickly. We know a lot of communities like Santa Clara, East San Jose have been waiting for a while on us rolling this out," said Toks Omishakin, Secretary of California State Transportation Agency.    

VTA says right now its light rail ridership is at about 58%. With a $46 million grant from California’s Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program, they project about 4,500 people a day will use the new light rail by 2043.  

"You can see someone, whether they’re from a poor part of East San Jose or whether they’re from the Silver Creek Country Club, taking their car, parking it there, and jumping on the train. Saying, why would I possibly want to fight traffic on 101, 280 or 680, when I can just do this and perhaps get some homework done on the way?" said Sen. David Cortese, who represents District 15.   

VTA says it’ll break ground on the light rail extension in spring of next year, and it should be up and running in 2029.