Project update: Diesel eBART coming to Pittsburg and Antioch | 511 Contra Costa

Project update: Diesel eBART coming to Pittsburg and Antioch

When you hand over your cash at a toll plaza, do you ever wonder where that money goes? Do the beeps of your Fast Track sound like a tiny “good bye” chirp from your checking account? Commuters in Pittsburg and Antioch have the chance to see one very real, very modern, and very green result of their tolls in the new eBART system.
Last week, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission allocated $19 million in Bay Area tolls to the eBART rail extension. What is eBART?
eBART (named for East Contra Costa County) is a 10-mile extension of BART service past Pittsburg/Bay Point to Hillcrest Avenue. The tracks will run in the middle of Highway 4, and a second new station is planned for Railroad Avenue. The trains will run up to 20 hours a day and be timed to meet BART at Pittsburg/Bay Point for a smooth transfer. A ride from Antioch to Embarcadero in San Francisco will take 68 minutes.
What makes eBART different is that its trains will run on clean diesel, instead of electricity like the rest of the BART system. This makes the extension 60% less expensive than regular BART, while still moving 300-400 people per two-car train. That’s as many people as a new highway lane, and it will still create 600 temporary and 40-80 permanent jobs, but for much less. If the route is deemed popular enough, it can always be upgraded to full BART infrastructure later.
According to BART, the eBART will “allow East County residents to board a train at Hillcrest Avenue and be at the Pittsburg/Bay Point BART Station in 10 minutes.” 10 miles in 10 minutes? How long does that drive take you today?
Construction began last October, and is expected to finish in 2015. Future extensions could go as far as Oakley, Brentwood, Bryon/Discovery Bay, and beyond.
Do you drive along the project? Are you looking forward to 10 more miles of BART service? Let us know!

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