On March 21st 2023 the San Jose Mercury’s Eliyahu Kamisher provided important new information about the VTA’s grotesquely ill-conceived BART Phase II extension, the projected cost of which has increased from $4.8 billion in February 2018 to today’s astounding $9.5 billion.
Unfortunately, the VTA’s ridership forecasts have proven to be no more accurate than its cost estimates. Back when the BART extension was first being promoted zealots were projecting 70,000 riders a day or more by 2040. The VTA later reduced these rosy early projections to a total of 54,600 riders a day at the four Phase II stations. On April 14th the San Jose Mercury reported that a new federally-mandated forecast had dropped the projected 2040 ridership by another 40% to just 32,900 riders a day.
If this latest ridership estimate is accurate, it would mean that under no circumstances could a project cost of anything close to $9.5 billion be justified.