Thursday, May 24, 2018

ACE to BART rail connection project receives planning grant

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Preliminary map Preliminary map

Officials announced last week California's approval of a $750,000 grant for planning efforts to connect the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) and Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) rail systems.



Officials say the connection would relieve congestion on the I-580 corridor. The funding was secured by the recently established Tri-Valley – San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority, Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty and Tracy Mayor Pro Tem Veronica Vargas announced.

"The I-580 freeway serves the Altamont Corridor and ranks as one of the most congested freeways in the Northern California Megaregion due to high volume commuter, freight and other traffic," said Haggerty, who serves as chair for the Regional Rail Authority (RRA). "With traffic on the I-580 expected to increase 60 percent in the near future, this is a very important rail connection that will not only improve our quality of life, but will also have a positive impact on our economy and the environment."

Vargas, who serves as vice chair of the RRA, noted that the community has faced obstacles in attracting residents despite affordable housing options due to the current commute over the Altamont being "intolerable."

"This is the right time for policy makers on both sides of the Altamont to work together to deliver an important rail connection that will provide real results in reducing congestion," Vargas added.

The Tri-Valley – San Joaquin Valley RRA was established in 2017, when California Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 758 for the planning and delivery of a connection between the BART and ACE rail systems.

So far, the RRA has adopted a project concept and has released a schedule for the work, which entails selecting a "preferred alternative" for project-level environmental clearance, officials said.
Officials said they plan to consider other options, however, the RRA's adopted project concept includes a first phase passenger rail system from River Islands, Tracy, Mountain House and locations in Livermore before connecting with BART.

Additional phases for the mega-regional line feature stops at Lathrop/Manteca and
Stockton before connecting with the first phase terminus of River Islands.

More information on the Tri-Valley – San Joaquin Valley RRA and the planned rail connection between the ACE and BART rail systems is available here