Today Congresswoman Barbara Lee, BART Board President James Fang and Board Member Carole Ward Allen joined local leaders in government, transportation and building trades to celebrate the ceremonial groundbreaking on the $484 million Oakland Airport Connector project. In the short term, construction of this train-to-plane connection will mean thousands of jobs in a recovering economy. In the long term, this world-class, 100% electric train-to-plane connection between the Coliseum Station and the Oakland Airport will provide travelers with frequent, fast and reliable service.
"As we celebrate both the short-term and long-term benefits of the BART Oakland Airport Connector, its job creation component stands out as an important means of growth and opportunity for many of our local community members still struggling with hardship," Congresswoman Barbara Lee said.
"Today is a historic day for the Bay Area," BART Board President James Fang said. "Now both major airports in the BART counties have train-to-plane connections. Our partner agencies and federal, state and local elected leaders helped us to overcome the funding challenges we faced. I especially want to thank my fellow BART Directors for having the courage to see this project through. Now let’s get the dirt flying, the people riding and the citizens of Oakland and the Bay Area working!"
"This project is very important to the people of my district and the millions who use the Oakland Airport," Board Member Carole Ward Allen said. Ward Allen has worked to get this project built in her home city of Oakland for nearly two decades. "We couldn’t be building this project at a better time, because Oakland currently has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state. The project-labor agreement that accompanies this project specifically states 25% of the work will go to Oakland residents – providing many with much needed jobs. I’m also very happy the project includes goals to create opportunities for companies run by people of color and women."
Fast, Frequent & Reliable Service for Air Travelers & Thousands of Jobs
The project is expected to create between 2,500 and 5,000 direct and indirect jobs during the three and a half year construction phase, which could begin as early 2011.
Once built, the connector will replace the AirBART buses that often are bogged down by Hegenberger Road traffic, Coliseum sporting events, freight trains and accidents, all of which create great angst for anxious air travelers rushing to make their flights. By contrast, the connector will be a far more relaxing ride. The driverless, automated trains will offer swift, reliable world-class service because they will be all electric and run on a fixed, elevated guideway above the congestion. The trains will arrive at the Coliseum BART Station every 4.5 minutes and will quickly transport air travelers to the airport in 8 minutes and 12 seconds with an on-time performance exceeding 99%. Visit www.bart.gov/oac or www.bart.gov/barttv for more information.