The Valley Link Board of Directors approved a three-year employment contract for incoming Executive Director Kevin Sheridan at its Feb. 9, 2022 meeting and formally welcomed new Deputy Director, Financial Planning and Programming, Wil Ridder.
Sheridan, who has served the agency since July of 2021 as the Deputy Executive Director, was promoted to fill the position being vacated by outgoing Executive Director Michael Tree. Ridder comes to the agency from LA Metro where he served as their Executive Officer, of State/Federal Policy and Programming.
Tree told the Board in his outgoing remarks, “With your new executive team, you are developing a lot of confidence and a lot of expertise in this project and a lot of respect is coming in from other agencies in regard to the last couple of hires that this Board has made.”
“We have the dream team in rail project delivery,” commented Chair Veronica Vargas. “I am confident we are fully equipped to meet our agency’s mission to expeditiously deliver the Valley Link project – to move it into its next phase and get construction underway.”
Prior to joining Valley Link, Sheridan held positions in transportation project delivery for more than 20 years, most recently with the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (ACE) as Director of the Capitol Projects Program where he oversaw $1.5 billion in rail construction projects. He also held project management positions with the San Joaquin Council of Governments and Caltrans – overseeing a wide range of large capital projects from inception through construction and project completion.
In introducing Ridder to the Board, Sheridan noted, “He has hit the ground running and is already hard at work putting the funding pieces together. He is coming to us from LA Metro where he was highly successful, and I am certain he will bring this same excellence to Valley Link.”
Sheridan also noted that Ridder previously worked at the San Joaquin Council of Governments (SJCOG) where he was instrumental in advancing the Measure K sales tax renewal which is projected to deliver an estimated $2.5 billion worth of transportation projects in the region.
“We are very fortunate to now have him on the Valley Link team,” he added.
The Tri-Valley – San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority was created by the California Legislature in 2017 with the passage of Assembly Bill 758, co-authored by Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-San Ramon and Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman, D-Stockton.
The Authority’s primary purpose is to plan, develop and deliver cost-effective transit connectivity between the San Joaquin Valley and the Bay Area.
The Authority is governed by a Board of Directors appointed by its 15-member agencies, including: the Town of Danville, the cities of San Ramon, Dublin, Pleasanton, Livermore, Tracy, Manteca, Lathrop and Stockton, the Mountain House Community Services District, the counties of Alameda and San Joaquin, the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA), the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE).
The proposed Valley Link project includes seven stations along 42 miles of track, connecting the existing Dublin/Pleasanton BART Station to the proposed ACE North Lathrop Station. Trains would be scheduled to allow for convenient transfers to BART. The first Valley Link trains could be placed into service in 2028.
Valley Link will carry 33,000 passengers a day in 2040, reducing vehicle miles travelled by 141 million each year, and eliminating between 33,000 to 42,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) per year depending on the vehicle technology selected. Currently, the Regional Rail Authority is considering four technologies that include two zero emission technologies: battery/electric and hydrogen.
The passenger rail project will have a significant impact on the regional economy. A recent Economic Impact Study performed by PGH Wong found that during construction Valley Link will create 22,000 jobs with an economic impact on the region of $3.5 billion. Additionally, during service, Valley Link will create 400 jobs and an economic impact of $69 million per year.
Additional information on the Tri-Valley – San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority is available on the Regional Rail Authority’s website at www.valleylinkrail.com.