Aug. 03--SAN PABLO -- An additional $300,000 has been committed to study ways to connect communities north of El Cerrito and Richmond to BART.
The money, generated by Measure J, the Contra Costa County-wide transportation sales tax, was pledged last week by the West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee, matching an amount pledged earlier by BART.
That means about half of the money needed for the work is in hand, and another $100,000 may be forthcoming in September, when the committee meets to study the scope and cost of the study, said executive director John Nemeth.
He anticipates the rest of the needed funds will come from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority or other sources.
Possible transit options to be studied include:
--Extending BART northward, either with regular BART trains, or with diesel trains like the ones to be used on eBART in East Contra Costa.
--Beefing up express bus service, currently provided by the Western Contra Costa Transit Authority (WestCAT), between the El Cerrito del Norte BART station north to Richmond Hilltop, Pinole and Hercules.
--Increasing train service along the Capitol Corridor, with a connection to BART at the Richmond station and with a planned train station in Hercules.
BART board member Zakhary Mallett, whose District 7 covers most of West Contra Costa, said that a study would be "an important first step in determining how best to provide viable regional transit alternatives to the residents of West Contra Costa County."
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