The Valley Link rail project now has nearly a third of funds needed to build out the planned regional transit system, after the Alameda County Transportation Commission agreed to reallocate $400 million in Measure BB funding at its Sept. 24 meeting.
There is now $708 million total in identified funds for Valley Link, or almost 30% of the estimated project cost. Valley Link Executive Director Michael Tree said the $400 million allocation and other local funds "will go a long way in helping us leverage state and federal funds for the project.”
Using Measure BB funds "brings us one step closer to keeping the promise that was made to Tri-Valley voters in 1962, and again in 2014," said Livermore Mayor John Marchand. "That is the promise of frequent, convenient rail transit through the Tri Valley with connections to BART and the rest of the Bay Area."
The funds were originally earmarked for the BART to Livermore connection, but instead will be used for constructing seven stations along 42 miles of railroad tracks, connecting the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station to the proposed ACE station in Lathrop for the project's first phase. Service would be extended to Stockton during a second phase.
Valley Link trains -- which could be operating in 2028 -- will be scheduled to conveniently transfer to BART, and carry about 33,000 passengers a day in 2040. More than 99 million vehicle miles would be eliminated each year, also cutting between 33,000 to 42,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, depending on the vehicle technology selected. Several technologies are currently being considered by the Regional Rail Authority: battery/electric, hydrogen, and two types of zero emission technologies.
Construction of Valley Link is expected to have a "significant impact on the regional economy" of $3.5 billion and create 22,00 jobs. During service, 400 jobs will be created and Valley Link will generate a yearly economic impact of $69 million.
Numerous local entities including the cities of Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore and San Ramon, local Chambers of Commerce, Chabot-Las Positas Community College District, and the Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group wrote letters of support during the 45-day comment period preceding ACTC's decision.
Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, who is chair of the Regional Rail Authority and also serves on the Alameda County Transportation Commission, said, “I am truly grateful to my ACTC colleagues who supported this action. I thank them on behalf of the 93,398 Bay Area workers who commute through the Altamont each day struggling to house their families and access jobs – and for all who receive its environmental and economic benefit."
Haggerty added, "For many, transportation is more than getting from point A to point B – it’s a vehicle to opportunity and a chance to have safe and affordable choices about where they can live and work. It supports equality. It connects us. It gives many a hope for a better future."