ANTIOCH -- BART took another step toward a rail extension to Antioch on Thursday when the transit agency's board awarded a $78.3 million contract to build the tracks.

A joint venture of Stacy and Witbeck, Amoroso and Modern Railway Systems got the contract on a unanimous vote of the board.

The joint venture submitted the lowest of three bids in the competition for the tracks for eBART, which will shuttle passengers on diesel trains 10 miles between the current Bay Point/Pittsburg station to a planned new station on Hillcrest Avenue in Antioch

The joint venture also was awarded three other contract options totaling some $5.3 million for related track and equipment work, including a $4.76 million option for work to accommodate a future Pittsburg Civic Center station.

The new eBART service is expected to begin in 2017.

Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff.