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SJCOG Board Closes Funding Gap; Jump-starts a Feasibility Report Examining Rail Connection between BART and ACE
February 9, 2018
A Feasibility Report that will examine the most cost effective and responsive rail connection of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in Livermore to Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) Service in San Joaquin County was given the go ahead late last month when the San Joaquin Council of Governments Board eliminated the funding shortfall.
Over 123,000 vehicles travel on the Altamont Pass corridor daily and I-205 is the heaviest commuter highway in San Joaquin County. This key step SJCOG and its partners in the Tri-Valley Area are taking will identify solutions connecting San Joaquin’s work force to jobs in the San Francisco
Bay Area and relieving the extreme congestion on both I-205 and I-580.
The Tri-Valley – San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority was created with the passage of Assembly Bill 758, co-authored by Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-San Ramon and Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, D-Stockton. The Authority is led by a 15-member Board, of which seven members are from the San Joaquin Region. “This is a big win for San Joaquin County and Tracy residents,” states Tracy Mayor and SJCOG Vice-Chair, Robert Rickman. “This vital rail connection will reduce traffic on our congested freeways and give our residents who commute more options. Additionally, our region will benefit economically as it will attract more businesses and jobs to the region.”
The Authority will undertake an 18-month effort to produce a Feasibility Report that will examine rail transportation options including the feasibility of diesel or electric multiple unit technology on rail cars to move commuters from the congested highways. At Thursday’s meeting, the SJCOG Board heard from many supporters (of rail connectivity between BART and ACE) who expressed economic and quality of life benefits.
The Authority sought $300,000 to close the funding gap on the report, recognizing that $1.3 million was already secured through the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Regional Measure 1 Funds and a Caltrans Sustainability Grant. The SJCOG Board approved the funding request enabling the $1.6 million Feasibility Report to begin. SJCOG Chair and San Joaquin County Supervisor Kathy Miller stated, “SJCOG is a steadfast partner with the Bay Area when it comes to collaborating on ways to alleviate the 205/580 commute. When complete, SJCOG looks forward to the information from the report on the funding plan, schedule, and preliminary designs to guide policy makers in their strategic decisions for the Altamont Pass corridor.”
Also at their January 25th meeting, The SJCOG Board announced its commitment to efforts of the Tri-Valley - San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority by identifying efforts on the Feasibility Report and future Project Level Environmental Document in the upcoming 2018 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities (RTP/SCS) for San Joaquin County. The 2018 RTP/SCS is a transportation plan that identifies all regional transportation projects moving forward through year 2042 that will provide benefits to the region, including but not limited to, improved congestion, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and increased public transit options for San Joaquin residents. The draft Regional Transportation Plan is scheduled for release in early March.
San Joaquin Council of Governments is a joint powers authority comprised of the County of San Joaquin and the cities of Stockton, Lodi, Manteca, Tracy, Ripon, Escalon, and Lathrop. The agency serves as the federally-designated metropolitan planning organization, the state- designated regional transportation planning agency, the implementing agency for the habitat conservation program, the local transportation authority (overseeing Measure K, the local half- cent transportation sales tax), and as a technical resource for the San Joaquin region.
For more information, visit sjcog.org, follow SJCOG on Facebook and Twitter, or call 209-235-0600.