SAN JOSE (KCBS) – BART trains could be rolling in San Jose as soon as 2016 after a huge hurdle was cleared Thursday in the form of more than $1 billion in grant money.

“This is the culmination of over ten years of work by the community to bring BART to San Jose,” said VTA General Manager Michael Burns. “We’re awarding the first major construction project. We’re awarding over $1 billion in contacts today to complete really the first phase of the project.”

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KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

Burns said that groundbreaking is now scheduled for this March.

“The project is organized in two phases. The first phase, the first 10 miles to the Berryessa Section of San Jose, will be funded with this contract,” said Burns. “And we’re continuing to work on the second phase which will bring BART to downtown San Jose and to Santa Clara.”

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The final step will be $900 million in federal funding, which should go up for a vote in February.

VTA Vice Chairman Ken Yeager said that BART trains could be rolling in San Jose as soon as late 2016.

“We are moving very quickly with this. This is a great contract. It seems that everything can be completed by 2016,” said Yeager. “There are also incentives in the contract that if they finish early, they will get additional dollars.”

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