Funding has been secured to further plans for a new connection between the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) rail systems in California, the United States.
The recently founded Tri-Valley – San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority has awarded a grant of $750,000 to progress plans that hope to ease congestion on the I-580 highway by introducing a new passenger rail service.
While other options will be studied, the rail authority’s adopted project concept envisages a first phase from River Islands, Tracy, Mountain House and locations in Livermore before connecting with a BART terminus (See map below).
This would follow the path of the historic Transcontinental Railroad, a 12 mile abandoned route through the Altamont mountain pass.
Scott Haggerty, Alameda County supervisor and chair of the authority, said: “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.
“With traffic on the I-580 expected to increase 60 per cent 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.”
City of Tracy mayor Veronica Vargas, who is also the vice-chair of the authority, added: “The affordability of housing in Tracy and other Northern San Joaquin Valley communities is attractive to many residents who work in the Bay Area.
“However, the commute over the Altamont is 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.”