In recent action, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area, unanimously approved a regional grants strategy for the major competitive transportation funding programs under the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). Under the leadership of Alameda County District 4 Supervisor Nate Miley, the Valley Link rail project was added to the list of regional project priorities for the Capital Investment Grant (CIG) Program, pending Federal Transit Administration (FTA) approval of the Valley Link rail project into the formal project delivery process for the CIG Program.
In his remarks to the Commission, Miley noted that the Valley Link Project is a vital, cost-effective passenger rail service that will provide equitable, near-term access to more than 1.68 million residents of Alameda County – ranked as the second most populous county in Northern California and ranked seventh out of 58 statewide. It will also provide relief to more than 100,000 Bay Area workers now living in the Northern San Joaquin Valley, commuting daily through the Altamont/I-580 Corridor in their cars, including those delivering vital services.
Following the action of the Commission, Supervisor Miley commented, “I am very pleased that the Metropolitan Transportation Commission voted unanimously to support Valley Link as an identified project for the CIG Program, indicating its regional and megaregional significance.”
The identification of Valley Link as a regional priority for federal funding under the CIG Program received resounding support by letters and testimony to MTC from leaders of business and industry across the Bay Area including the East Bay Leadership Council, East Bay Economic Developments Alliance, Building Industry Association, and Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group.
Tim Sbranti, Director of Strategic Initiatives for Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group, remarked that, “There is clear and overwhelming regional support for Valley Link as evidenced by all of the comments from community leaders, organizations, and MTC Commissioners as well as the letter from Congressman Swalwell.”
In a letter of support presented to MTC, 15th District Congressman Eric Swalwell noted, “To achieve the region’s goals for the economy, environment, housing, and transportation – it needs a robust and sustainable passenger rail system that will equitably serve our residents and work force with better access to jobs, educational opportunities, and health care facilities. I believe that Valley Link is a vital element of this rail system and essential to the future of our region.”
Valley Link Board of Directors Vice Chair and City of Dublin Mayor Melissa Hernandez, along with other Valley Link Board members including Alameda County District 1 Supervisor David Haubert and City of San Ramon Mayor David Hudson, testified at the MTC meeting on behalf of the Valley Link project. After the meeting, Hernandez stated, “I thank Supervisor Miley for his leadership and the Commission for their support of Valley Link as a regional priority for federal funding. To be truly equitable, we must support the very workforce that protects us, educates our children and buoys our economy - our public safety workers, nurses, teachers and hardworking individuals from all sectors who are priced out of the very communities they serve.”
The full Valley Link rail project will provide a new 42-mile, 7 station rail connection between the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station in Alameda County and the North Lathrop Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) station in San Joaquin County with all day service on BART frequencies during peak periods – providing an estimated 33,000 daily rides in 2040. The initial operating segment (IOS) between the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station and the Mountain House station, including the Isabel and South Front Road stations in Livermore, is targeted for construction in 2025. The Valley Link rail project is also leading innovation with a vision to be a model of sustainability connecting the Northern California megaregion with the first passenger rail system in California running on self-produced green hydrogen and a hydrogen fuel production facility able to support other transit and heavy truck operators.
In addition to the use of zero emissions vehicle and green energy production technologies, the Valley Link Board-adopted Sustainability Policy identifies implementing strategies to achieve a zero emissions system through innovation station access. This includes electric autonomous shuttles, shared mobility, and support for local transit operator alternative vehicle technology.
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.