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Press Release

BART Board Sends Key Rail Project to New Regional Rail Authority

Posted: May 25, 2018
Location: Livermore, Ca

On Thursday evening 5/24/18 the BART Board of Directors voted against a long awaited BART extension to Livermore, instead deferring to the newly created Tri-Valley – San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority that was created by AB 758 last year to plan and construct a Northern California Megaregional connection between the ACE and BART rail systems.

Mayor Pro Tem Veronica Vargas of Tracy, who is Vice Chair on the new Regional Rail Authority, spoke to the BART Board as did a large number of Central Valley and Tri-Valley residents who are in favor of the BART to Livermore extension. She emphasized the critical importance of a near-future megaregion rail connection: “The I-580 corridor is one of the most congested freeways in the Bay Area. Every day more than 80,000 commuters experience long delays in traffic. The substantial delays affect our families and their quality of life, the megaregion’s economy and the sensitive environment. It’s time to get this NEW Rail Connection done, ACE needs to connect to BART,” Vargas said.

The new Regional Rail Authority has already begun planning for the megaregional rail connection that will see a DMU/EMU train travel as a potential Phase 1 from the River Islands development to Tracy/Mountain House before travelling through the Altamont Corridor and entering the I-580 to meet with BART. Additional phases could see the new train beginning in Stockton and travelling to Lathrop/Manteca before connecting to the Phase I. ACE passengers could transfer to this line at several stations along the way. For passengers living between Stockton and Livermore, this route would finally provide a direct connection to BART.

Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, who is Chair of the new Regional Rail Authority also spoke in favor of a traditional BART extension to Livermore with a megaregional rail connection in Livermore. “A BART station at Isabel would have made for a clean connection with a train from the Central Valley.” But, he said, “We’re being handed lemons, and we’ll just have to figure out a way to make lemonade.”

The new Regional Rail Authority anticipates choosing a preferred project option in the summer of 2018 after studying alternatives to its adopted project concept. The agency will then be in a position to begin environmental analysis to prepare for construction of the rail connection. Based on the decision by BART on Thursday, the agency will, on July 1, be the recipient of at least $135 million in funds already dedicated to the extension and will likely be eligible for another $400 million that’s also committed to the project through the Bay Area’s Measure BB.

For more information on the Tri-Valley – San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority, its 15-member Board of Directors or the agency’s Project Concept visit www.acetobart.org.

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