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The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) last week began the initial steps of an environmental study for the proposed construction of a six-mile extension of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) from the now under-construction Berryessa BART Station in San Jose to the city of Santa Clara, Calif.The study will address short- and long-term environmental impacts after analyzing a no-build approach or a build-out approach known as VTA's BART Silicon Valley Phase II Extension project, VTA officials said in a press release.VTA will hold three public meetings during the first phase of the environmental process, known as the scoping period. The purpose of the scooping is to narrow the study's focus to significant environmental issues, eliminate insignificant impacts from detailed analysis and identify alternatives to analyze, VTA officials said.The meetings will be held Feb. 12 in Santa Clara, and Feb. 17 and Feb. 19 in San Jose.The BART Silicon Valley Project is a 16-mile extension of the existing BART system to San Jose, Milpitas and Santa Clara, which will be built through a phased approach. The first phase, the Berryessa Extension, is a 10-mile, two-station extension, beginning in Fremont south of the future BART Warm Springs Station and proceeding in the former Union Pacific Railroad right of way through Milpitas, the location of the first station, and then to the Berryessa area of north San Jose, at the second station. VTA continues project development activities for the second phase of the project, which includes a subway tunnel through downtown San Jose. Construction on the second phase of the project will commence as additional funding is secured.
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