California Transit Association

Member Profiles

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority

Fleet Inventory

49 buses and 99 LRT


Year Founded


Governing or Corporate Structure

The Board of Directors consists of 12 voting members who are appointed by their respective appointing agencies as provided in Public Utilities Code Section 100060 on the basis of the appointees' expertise, experience or knowledge relative to transportation issues. Alternate members shall regularly attend Board meetings and vote in the place of an absent Director. Procedures for the selection of Directors and alternates to the Board for groups in this Code shall be determined by the cities of each respective grouping. Metropolitan Transportation Commissioners who reside in Santa Clara County, and who are not members or alternate members of the Board of Directors by virtue of Public Utilities Code Section 100060, shall be invited to serve as Ex-Officio members of the Board of Directors. Upon acceptance as Ex-Officio Board members, they shall be invited to, and they may regularly attend, Board meetings, including Closed Sessions, but their presence shall not be counted for purposes of establishing a quorum, they shall have no voting rights, and they shall not serve on the standing committees of the Board.

Significant Historical Milestones

VTA was created in 1972 pursuant to the Santa Clara County Transit District Act. Effective on December 1, 1994, VTA became the Congestion Management Agency in Santa Clara County, undertaking the responsibility for countywide transportation planning and funding and for managing the county's blueprint to reduce congestion and improve air quality. Prior to January 1, 1995, the County Board of Supervisors served as the Board of Directors of VTA. Effective January 1, 1995, pursuant to State legislation, VTA has operated under a separate Board of Directors composed of County and city representatives. On January 1, 2000, pursuant to State legislation, VTA's name was officially changed from the Santa Clara County Transit District.

Notable Leaders

State Senator Jim Beall Jim Beall has been involved in every major transportation policy decisions in Santa Clara County (SCC) for 35 years, while serving on the San Jose City Council, the (SCC) Board of Supervisors, the California State Assembly, and in the California State Senate. He's actively involved in all VTA local transportation sales tax measures, including the 1984 Measure A, 1996 Measure B, 2000 Measure A, and 2008 Measure B. He secured state funding for VTA's BART Silicon Valley Berryessa Extension Project (Project) and has identified BART Silicon Valley Phase II as his highest transportation priority for his remaining years in the State Senate. He secured state funding for the I-880/I-280/Stevens Creek Boulevard Interchange Project, as well as for the U.S. 101/Tully Road and the U.S. 101/Capitol/Yerba Buena Projects. During his career he has served on VTA's Boards of Directors VTA, the SCC Traffic Authority, the (SCC) Congestion Management Agency, and the Caltrain Joint Powers Authority. He also served on the MTC representing the interests of Silicon Valley. He's a former chair of the Senate Transportation Budget Subcommittee, and is currently serving as chair of the Senate Transportation & Housing Committee. He's authored five bills on behalf of VTA, all of which were enacted into law. He is currently authoring SB 16, which proposes to generate about $3 -$4 billion annually in new state transportation revenues over the next five years for maintenance and rehabilitation work on the state highway system and local streets/roads. SB 16 is the most significant piece of transportation funding legislation introduced in Sacramento since Proposition 1B in 2006. He's also working on a proposal to provide more cap-and-trade dollars for public transit. Rod Diridon, Sr. He is now known as the "father of modern transit service" in California's Silicon Valley. He retired, because of term limits, after 20 years and six terms as chair of both the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and Santa Clara County Transit Board. He is the only person to have chaired the San Francisco Bay Area´s (nine counties and 104 cities) three regional governments – the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and the Association of Bay Area Governments. His hands-on transportation experience includes chairing nine Major Investment Studies (alternative analyses) for CalTrain, Guadalupe Corridor Light Rail Project, Fremont-South Bay Corridor (BART to Silicon Valley) Project, Tasman Corridor Light Rail Project, Vasona Corridor Board and others. Ron Gonzales Ron Gonzales was instrumental in identifying and advocating for the Union Pacific Railroad corridor in Milpitas and San Jose for the BART alignment. His steadfast support while he was a Supervisor, and then as the Mayor of San Jose, kept the project front and center moving it forward to where it is today--planned to open in Fall 2017 in the Berryessa neighborhood of San Jose. He made sure the project was part of the 1996 Measure to secure the right-of-way, 2000 Measure to fund construction and the 2008 Measure to fund future operations. Carl Guardino Carl Guardino, one of Silicon Valley's most distinguished business and community leaders, is the President and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a public policy trade association that represents nearly 400 of Silicon Valley's most respected companies. Known throughout the region as a consensus builder, Guardino has championed a number of important issues, especially in the areas of transportation and housing. His transportation leadership includes successful management of ballot Measures A & B in 1996 that funded 19 key road and rail improvements with $1.4 billion; and co-management of a 2000 Measure A Program that will generate some $7.5 billion in local funds to bring BART to Santa Clara County, improve CalTrain and other transit improvements. In 2008, Guardino managed the successful Measure B (BART) campaign which earned nearly 67 percent voter approval. It authorized a 1/8-cent sales tax for 30 years to fund the operations and maintenance a 16-mile VTA BART Silicon Valley extension. In February 2007, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Guardino to a four-year term on the California Transportation Commission and has been reappointed by Governor Jerry Brown twice. Congressman Mike Honda Throughout his political career, in Congressman Honda has shown his interest in the area of transportation. During his early Congressional years, he served on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, but opted to leave this committee after SAFETEA-LU was enacted in 2005. He serves on the House Appropriations Committee. Over the years, his project priorities have been the BART Silicon Valley Extension Project, the I-280/I-880/Stevens Creek Boulevard Interchange Project, and improvements to State Route 152 in South County. Before Congress imposed a ban on earmarks, he secured federal funding for those three projects. He's strongly supported the BART Project. When the project experienced challenges with the FTA in 2004 and 2005 during the Bush Administration, his support never wavered. Before the project was divided into two phases and the ban on earmarks, he successfully earmarked$11 million in New Starts Program funding for preconstruction activities. When FTA, required a New Starts project to achieve a "medium" cost-effectiveness rating to be considered for a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA), he successfully put language in SAFETEA-LU that exempted this requirement for the BART Project. At that time, the project had a "medium-low" cost-effectiveness rating from FTA. He played a prominent role to ensure the execution of our FFGA for $900 million in New Starts Program funding for BART Phase 1, over seven years (FY 2018 being the last year). His position on the House Appropriations Committee, he plays the lead role, ensuring that annual congressional appropriations for the New Starts Program are sufficient to accommodate Phase 1 pursuant to our FFGA. Since executing the FFGA, Phase 1 has received the following allocations from FTA: (a) FY 2012 = $100 million; (b) FY 2013 = $142 million; (c) FY 2014 = $150 million; and (d) FY 2015 = $150 million. We have $358 million left to be allocated to Phase 1 over the next three fiscal years under the FFGA. Dianne McKenna Along with Rod Diridon, Sr. and Jim Beall, Dianne was one of the three major players in transportation in Santa Clara County from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, during her tenure on the county Board of Supervisors. Since she served on the Board of Supervisors, which governed the Transit District at that time; the Congestion Management Agency Board of Directors; the Caltrain Joint Powers Board; and MTC, she was involved in every major transportation decision affecting Santa Clara County that was made during that period of time. That includes the initial development and expansion of our light rail system; the take-over of Caltrain by Santa Clara, San Mateo and SF Counties from the state; the development and successful passage of the 1992 Measure A (though the measure was eventually invalidated by the courts and never implemented); and the development and successful passage of the subsequent 1996 Measures A + B. Perhaps more than anyone else, Dianne was responsible for the creation of VTA. She played the lead role in pushing for separating the Transit District from the county and merging it with the CMA to form VTA. After she had left the county Board of Supervisors, she was appointed by then-Gov. Gray Davis to serve on the California Transportation Commission, where she became involved in state transportation policy. She served one four-year term on the CTC.

Notable Achievements

Bringing Light Rail to Santa Clara County (1986-2005) Continuing to move forward towards the goal of building a mass transit system crisscrossing the growing urbanized area, the County received $2 million from the federal government in 1982 to fund the preliminary engineering phase for the County's first light rail line. The construction of the line officially commenced with the construction of the light rail maintenance facility. Completed in 1986, the Guadalupe Light Rail Division, located in downtown San Jose is used to store, clean and repair light rail vehicles. The second phase of construction and first segment of in-street track to be installed began in 1985. Although the initial tracks only spanned 1.5 miles, they were essential for testing the light rail vehicles as they were delivered. Additional tracks were installed north of San Jose in December 1987. By June of 1988, the two-mile stretch of tracks through the revitalized downtown San Jose opened for service. The entire 21-mile light rail line opened for service April 21, 1991. The County now had its first completed light rail line that ran from the suburban neighborhoods of San Jose, through downtown San Jose and north to the industrial areas of Silicon Valley. In December 1999, VTA opened service into Downtown Mountain View and in May 2001 opened service into Milpitas. In June 2004 VTA opened an extension to East San Jose and on October 1, 2005 the latest extension to Campbell opened. The 3 light rail lines include 42.2 miles of track, and 62 light rail stations. Merger with the Congestion Management Agency (1995) A major event and change for the organization was the January 1, 1995 selection of VTA to serve as the Congestion Management Agency (CMA) for Santa Clara County. This was accomplished by signing a new joint powers agreement by the County of Santa Clara and the 15 cities in the county designated Santa Clara County Transit District as the CMA. This action coincided with the effective date of new legislation, which reconstituted the VTA's Board of Directors, an event which has commonly been referred to as the "separation" of the Transit District from the County. The composition of the Board of Directors changed from five directors, all County Supervisors to 12 directors, consisting of two County Supervisors, five City of San Jose council members, and five city council members selected from the remaining 14 cities in the County. With VTA now the designated CMA, the VTA Board became responsible for multi-modal, countywide transportation planning and the integration of transportation and land use planning as well as for transit operations. For the first time, this gave a single policy board the unique opportunity to make and implement transportation policy in Santa Clara County. With representatives of 15 cities and the county, the new Board adopted a regional approach to transit and land use planning issues. Recognizing the change that occurred in 1995, the new name of Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority was adopted in January 1996. In December 1996, a new corporate identity of VTA, or Valley Transportation Authority, was introduced. Bringing BART to Silicon Valley (Construction began in 2012 and Revenue-service scheduled for Fall-2017) BART Silicon Valley consists of extending this BART heavy rail system to Milpitas, and San Jose. The Phase 1 – 10 mile Berryessa Extension will travel along the existing Union Pacific Railroad alignment south of the future Warm Springs Station in Fremont to Milpitas and North San Jose. When Phase 1 is completed, this grade-separated project will include: two stations – one in Milpitas, and one in north San Jose. The Berryessa Extension has strong support, and in 2000, over 70% of Santa Clara county voters approved a 30-year, half-cent local sales tax measure for transit, with BART Silicon Valley for the priority project. In 2008, over 66% of Santa Clara county voters approved an additional eighth –cent sales tax to fund BART Silicon Valley's annual operating and maintenance expenses once state and federal funding have been secured. In addition, local and regional support from Silicon Valley Leadership Group ,San Jose Chamber of Commerce, local governments and other labor and business organizations have been a major force. Construction began in early 2012. Eleven grade-separations are underway and nearly completed. . Construction should be completed in 2016, then system testing in 2016-2017. Passenger service is anticipated for Fall 2017. The Berryessa Extension includes numerous benefits to improve transportation alternatives and improve the economy: • The extension provides enhanced commuter connections to VTA LRT and buses, Caltrain Altamont Commuter Express, Capitol Corridor and Amtrak. • The project creates thousands of construction jobs on the project and on other residential and employment centers. • More transportation options to schools, residences, work, and play by transit. • BART Silicon Valley takes cars off congested corridors and eliminates 16,000 tons of greenhouse gases. Providing Service to Levi's Stadium (2014) More than a year before Levi's Stadium opened, VTA, the San Francisco 49er's organization and the City of Santa Clara and others met to strategize to provide the best customer service possible to the Stadium. To support the demand on infrastructure, VTA's Construction Division undertook two light rail projects which had to be completed in a very short timeframe. The first, a new "pocket track" that was finished just before the pre-season opener, allowed VTA to store 3-car trains near the stadium to deploy departure trains every 5-minutes. A second light rail platform in front of Levi's Stadium was also constructed to prevent crowding and move customers more quickly. The Operations Division was responsible for not only the logistics of the buses and light rail trains, but for the queue line system that guides fans through a fare checkpoint and onto one of four destination trains post-game. The Marketing and Customer Service Division prepared information on "How to get to Levi's" brochures, which was included on the website, radio ads and our Customer Service Center. To ensure that a friendly face would greet the attendees, VTA's Ambassadors signed up to assist with the crowds. Each Ambassador attended a four-hour training. Two hundred employees signed up, and depending on the type of event, approximately 36-200 ambassadors were needed. Ambassadors were needed not only at the Levi's Stadium to direct crowd to the correct train or bus, as well as at the transit centers where their trips began and ended. Each event was somewhat different, although the 49er fans who came regularly and "learned the ropes." Concerts, college football games, and the all-time favorite "Wrestlemania" had a great time. Each event, whatever size, had a pre-event meeting and post-meeting, tweaking each event to improve the service we provide. With one successful NFL season moving 93,500 riders to and from the stadium under our belt, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is watching the film so to speak on transit operations to learn how to better adapt come game time. Looking toward the Big Game, we hope to better accommodate the mass of people coming from San Francisco using Caltrain. A second light rail track is being built to replace the current single track operation for the first mile at the west end of the system in Mountain View. The countdown has begun and a steady buzz has permeated the San Francisco Bay Area. Super Bowl 50 will take place at the newest, most-talked-about infrastructure in the South Bay – Levi's Stadium in the city of Santa Clara. On Sunday, February 7, 2016, close to 75,000 football fans will fill the stadium while another expected 25,000 will flock to the area to be part of the action.

Public Transit and Commuter Rail Agencies

Annual Ridership

Total 43,428,492 (Bus: 32,475,527 + LRT: $10,952,965)

Number of Bus Routes Provided

77 ( including 7 additional for service to Levi's Stadium)

Number of Rail Lines Served


Major Planned Investments

TRANSIT PROJECTS Light Rail Efficiency Program VTA's "Light Rail Efficiency Project" is advancing a series of capital improvements and service changes recommended by the 2010 Light Rail Improvement Plan. These changes are necessary to support growth, including increased density, as well as the San Francisco 49ers Levi's Stadium and the extension to BART service in Silicon Valley. These projects are expected to result in travel time savings by as much as 20-30%. Several capital improvements are included. The Improvement Program will increase speeds, improve on-time performance, and minimize waiting time. The improvements will address system challenges in Mountain View, Campbell, and San Jose. Although several projects are planned to be implemented, VTA has prioritized four capital projects: • Pocket Track and Double Crossover in Santa Clara near Levi's Stadium • Double tracking the Mountain View single track segment • System-Wide Speed and Reliability Improvements Construction should be completed in mid- 2017. BUS RAPID TRANSIT VTA is upgrading transit service along Santa Clara County's three busiest transit corridors to Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) status. These projects consist of improvements in technology and infrastructure as well as new vehicles that will allow riders on the Rapid 522 and Limited 323 routes to travel faster and more comfortably with more frequent service and better on-time reliability. Santa Clara-Alum Rock BRT Project This project is in construction and will upgrade the eastern portion of the Rapid 522 corridor between Downtown San Jose and the Eastridge Transit Center. The project includes installation of new, bus-only lanes on Alum Rock Avenue between US101 and I-680 that will allow the BRT vehicles to bypass automobile congestion. It will include rail-like stations that allow for fast, all door boarding. The project broke ground in 2014 and new BRT vehicles will start operating from the Palo Alto Transit Center to the Eastridge Transit Center in late 2015. BART Silicon Valley: The BART Silicon Valley Extension is a 10-mile, with 2-stations, one at Milpitas, and one in San Jose at Berryessa. Revenue service is expected to begin in Fall-2017. VTA's Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Silicon Valley Program is a voter–approved, regional transportation project that is planned to extend BART from southern Fremont in Alameda County through the cities of Milpitas, San Jose, and Santa Clara in Santa Clara County. Once completed, the project will close a significant gap in the regional rail system and provide commuter rail connections to the region's three major metropolitan centers: San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland. VTA's BART Silicon Valley Program is being built in phases. VTA's BART Silicon Valley Berryessa Extension Project (Phase I) is currently under construction and is projected to open in late 2017. VTA's BART Silicon Valley Phase II Extension Project (Phase II) will include a 5-mile long subway tunnel through downtown San Jose and will extend the BART system from the future Phase I terminus for approximately six miles. Four stations are proposed for Phase II: Alum Rock, Downtown San Jose, Diridon, and Santa Clara. VTA received California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) clearance (required by the state government) in 2004 and in 2007 for the full 16-mile, six-station BART Silicon Valley Program. Following the 2004 and 2007 CEQA clearances, and at the recommendation of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), VTA decided to build the project in phases. VTA entered into the FTA New Starts grant funding program in 2009 and received National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) clearance (required by the federal government) in 2010 for Phase I. FTA's New Starts program is the federal government's primary discretionary financial resource for supporting local major transit infrastructure projects. An FTA New Starts funding agreement for Phase I was executed in 2012. Phase II of VTA's BART Silicon Valley Program requires an approved Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement/Report (SEIS/SEIR) to become eligible for federal and state funding. A combined Supplemental EIS/3rd Supplemental EIR (SEIS/SEIR3) will be developed to evaluate and environmentally clear Phase II of VTA's BART Silicon Valley Program. HIGHWAY PROJECTS Silicon Valley Express Lanes The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is implementing the Silicon Valley Express Lanes Program to provide congestion relief through more effective use of existing roadways. The express lanes program will also provide a new mobility option and a funding source for transportation improvements including public transit. The Program, will include a network comprised of the State Route (SR) 237, State Route (SR) 85 and U.S. 101 corridors, will convert existing carpool lanes and add new lanes to provide congestion relief throughout Santa Clara County. SR Express Lanes –Phase 2 In March 2012, the SR 237 Express Lanes Connectors Project became operational on SR 237/I-880. Phase 2 of the express lanes project on SR 237 proposes to convert existing HOV lanes to express lanes, beginning at current project limits and extending to approximately Mathilda Avenue in Sunnyvale. SR 85 Express Lanes Project The SR 85 express lanes project is within the central corridor of the Silicon Valley Express Lanes Program being implemented by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). This project will convert approximately 27 miles of existing High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV or carpool) lanes to express lanes. The project will add a second HOV express lane between SR 87 and I-280. The project limits are between U.S. 101 in Mountain View and Bailey Avenue on U.S. 101 in south San Jose. The project will also convert the existing HOV direct connector in south San Jose, from U.S. 101 to SR 85, to an express connector. Carpools with two or more occupants, motorcycles, transit buses, and clean air vehicles with applicable decals will continue to use the express lanes free of charge. Solo drivers will have the option of paying a toll to use the express lanes during commute hours. Express lanes are a tool to manage congestion by utilizing existing capacity in the HOV lanes. SR 85 Express Lanes access points will accommodate traffic from I-280, SR 17, SR 87, SR 237, U.S. 101, and potentially county expressways and other major arterials. SR 85 connects commuters from San Jose, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Saratoga, Campbell, Sunnyvale, Los Altos, and Mountain View to the technology and professional service industries in Santa Clara County. U.S. 101 Express Lanes Project The U.S. 101 express lanes project is the central corridor in the Silicon Valley Express Lanes Program being implemented by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). This Project will convert 36 miles of existing High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV or carpool) lanes on U.S. 101 to express lanes and add a second express lane for the majority of the corridor from Dunne Avenue in Morgan Hill to the San Mateo County line. The project will also convert the U.S. 101/SR 85 HOV direct connectors in Mountain View to express lane connectors. U.S. 101 in Santa Clara County extends 52 miles from San Benito to San Mateo, providing north and south gateways into Silicon Valley. This stretch of highway serves as an important trade corridor between the Central Valley, Central Coast, and the San Francisco Bay Area, additionally connecting commuters to technology and professional service industries in Santa Clara County.

Transit Support Group

Number of Employees


Services Provided

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is an independent special district that provides sustainable, accessible, community-focused transportation options that are innovative, environmentally responsible, and promote the vitality of our region. VTA provides bus, light rail, and paratransit services, as well as participates as a funding partner in regional rail service including Caltrain, Capital Corridor, and the Altamont Corridor Express. As the county's congestion management agency, VTA is responsible for countywide transportation planning, including congestion management, design and construction of specific highway, pedestrian, and bicycle improvement projects, as well as promotion of transit oriented development.

Business Members

Products and Services Provided

Not applicable

Year: 2005

The Ribbon Cutting for third of three Light Rail Lines, the Vasona Line, which ends provides service from Mountain View to downtown Campbell. Dignitaries included California Assemblymember Jim Beall, FTA Administrator Leslie Rogers, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren and Rod Diridon Sr. Local elected officials also attended.

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Year: 2008

South of Gilroy, elected officials, former General Manager Michael T. Burns, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisor Don Gage and Caltrans officials celebrate the completion of the 152/156 Improvements which will increase safety at this flyover.

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Year: 2012

In March 2012, the Full Funding Grant Agreement for BART Berryessa Extension is signed by former General Manager Michael T. Burns and FTA official Therese MacMillan. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Congressman Mike Honda, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and SVLG Executive Director and CEO watch the signing.

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Year: 2012

The Groundbreaking for the BART Berryessa Extension Project included a BART car Over 600 people attended the event and numerous elected officials spoke at the event including Senator Dianne Feinstein, Governor Gray Davis (retired), Carl Guardino, Michael T. Burns, former San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales, and many other local eledted officials.

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Year: 2014

VTA celebrated 25 years of Light Rail on the Transit Mall. Arriving with local elected officials and music supplied by the 49ers, speakers recalled the early years,the challenges and dedication. Speakers included CEO and General Manager Nuria I. Fernandez, Congressman Mike Honda, State Senator Jim Beall, and Rod Diridon.

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