FREMONT -- Plans for an Irvington BART station have stalled yet again, this time because of a recent directive from the state Supreme Court.
City leaders say they likely won't be able to issue redevelopment bonds until January at the earliest to fund the $140 million project, but that the delay shouldn't disrupt plans for BART to simultaneously build stations in the Irvington and Warm Springs districts by autumn of 2015.
However, the longer the city must wait to issue the bonds, the greater the risk that the Irvington station would have to be completed after the Warm Springs station, potentially driving up project costs.
Fremont has halted the bond issuance four times this year because of uncertainty over the future of its redevelopment agency, which would fund the project.
Redevelopment is a key tool for cities and counties to fight blight and spur economic development, but the redevelopment program had proved costly to the state, which has been making up the difference in property tax revenue that school districts lost to redevelopment agencies.
The city thought it finally would be able to issue the bonds this summer after it abided by new legislation requiring that redevelopment agencies return millions to the state in order to keep operating.
However, several cities and the California Redevelopment Association challenged the legislation. In agreeing to hear the case on an expedited timeline, the Supreme Court issued a stay earlier this month effectively prohibiting agencies from issuing bonds until the court delivers its ruling, scheduled for January.
Fremont officials now are asking state legislators for an exemption that would let the city move ahead with the bond issuance.
"This is all a crapshoot, and we are doing the best we can with a lot of issues out of our control," City Manager Fred Diaz wrote in an email.
Building the two south Fremont stations together could result in more favorable construction contracts and avoid potential logistical issues arising from building a new station in the middle of a BART line, Fremont officials have said.
It would take a little more than three years once the bonds are issued to design the station and complete at least the structure and platform. A January bond issuance would allow enough time to build the station, but if it got pushed back into late 2012, special incentives might be needed for the contractor to complete the project in time, Public Works Director Jim Pierson said.
Meanwhile BART reiterated its support for an Irvington district station and said it didn't foresee logistical issues if the Irvington station is built after the station two miles to the south in Warm Springs.
"We've built intermediate stations at a number of locations," BART spokeswoman Molly McArthur said. "We know how to do that and we've done that before."
Contact Matthew Artz at 510-353-7002.
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