“Nancy Pelosi’s subway.” That’s what Congressional Republicans have christened the project extending BART service through downtown San Jose, which is set to receive an estimated $141 million from the COVID stimulus package the House is expected to pass Friday.

The South Bay BART extension isn’t even in Pelosi’s district.

But Republicans have made the connection as they argue Democrats are loading the $1.9 trillion relief package with pork: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy referred to the project as “Nancy Pelosi’s subway” at a press conference he called to criticize it Friday, and Senate Republicans called it “Nancy Pelosi’s Silicon Valley subway” in a tweet Wednesday.

Call it the political equivalent of a 49ers TV broadcast that shows the Golden Gate Bridge, when the game is being played in Santa Clara. Zoe Lofgren and Ro Khanna, who represent the South Bay turf where the four new stations will go, aren’t nearly as big of villains to Republicans as the House Speaker.

The jabs harken back to another stimulus debate, when conservative media falsely claimed that $30 million in a 2009 relief package during the Great Recession was earmarked for protecting “Pelosi’s mouse,” referring to the endangered Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse in San Francisco Bay.

In a more geographically accurate criticism of the BART funding, a spokesman for Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee told Fox Business, which first reported on the allocation, that the funding was an earmark helping “Big Tech.”

Republicans have also highlighted local concerns about the rising cost and slipping schedule of the $6.9 billion BART extension, which will run from the newly opened Berryessa Station on the north side of San Jose through downtown and back up to Santa Clara. The extension is the largest infrastructure project in Santa Clara County’s history — the $141 million allocation in the stimulus would represent just 2{98cae0078f524eff3ab8ec32cf55b261677ef6c8a6ed6e94d92a4234b93f46b6} of its total cost — and is expected to open by 2030.

But the BART extension is far from the only project on the list. The package includes money for infrastructure improvements all over the country and gives a total of $30.5 billion to struggling public transportation agencies nationwide.

Elsewhere in the Bay Area, estimates show the package would provide $47 million to the project electrifying Caltrain service, Metropolitan Transportation Commission spokesman Randy Rentschler said. Other programs to increase BART’s capacity through the Transbay Tube and build Muni’s central subway — ones that actually are in Pelosi’s district — would get $77 million and $23 million, respectively.

Those projects weren’t hand-picked by Pelosi or anyone else, Rentschler said. Instead, they’re getting the money because they had previously been approved for federal funding, in many cases under the Trump administration.

Anyone up in arms over the $141 million for the San Jose BART extension should note that the project is slated to receive more than 10 times that much — over $1.7 billion — in federal funding, via a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation that has been in the works for years. The department’s Federal Transit Administration has already given the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, which is building the extension, $225 million toward that allocation.

VTA spokeswoman Bernice Alaniz said the $141 million included in the COVID bill is separate from the Department of Transportation grant, and is “intended to help with the local share for the project,” which may be affected by the uncertain pandemic economy. Three-quarters of the project’s cost is coming from local sources, such as sales taxes and bridge toll hikes that were approved by voters.

“It’s not as though this project or these projects fell out of thin air,” Rentschler said. The goal, he said, is “to put money into these projects so the projects don’t slow down.”

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