SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — A long-awaited Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority light rail extension from Alum Rock to Eastridge is under discussion at an agency board meeting in San Jose Thursday night.
The project would only extend VTA light rail lines about two miles but has been 30 years in the making. The lack of a connection has long disappointed East Side residents.
“They had the plans, they had the openings, it should have happened years ago,” said Denise G., a daily transit rider.
Why do she think it didn’t connect? “Because they put the money for other things,” she said.
Frustrations boiled over at a recent VTA board meeting when San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo seemed to suggest starting a new study to look at futuristic transportation methods for the connection.
“We could look at land acquisition and utility relocation while we are studying,” Liccardo said at the meeting which was recorded and streamed on the VTA website.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez was shocked.
“We don’t know if we’ll find a better technology or when that better technology will come and what we don’t want to happen is for the East Side to wait another 30 years,” Chavez said.
Liccardo was not available for comment, but his office sent KPIX 5 a statement in which he clarified, quote: “I will vote to proceed immediately with the construction of the Eastridge transit project when it comes before the VTA Board in June. I expect we will move forward without delay.”
That came as welcome news to one former San Jose councilmember who worked on the project for years with no result.
“Southeast San Jose waits for transit and we don’t want to wait forever. if this gets delayed too much, I’m afraid it will never happen,” said Rose Herrera, who remains active in her Evergreen neighborhood.
The VTA board will take public comment and come back for a vote on the Eastridge extension in June.