The $2 billion Valley Link is a political way to spend tax money in the Tri-Valley, not a transportation project. Daily trips over the Altamont are at 86,000 and expected to grow by 60,000 by 2040. Tri-Valley I-580 trips are expected to grow by 150,000 to 350,000, up from the BART to Livermore 2016 count of 200,000. That same study indicated that there were 14,000 BART riders. Less than 10% of total corridor trips, and less than the 15,000 through Niles Canyon. BART to Livermore failed because it is projected to only induce 12,500 "new” riders by 2040. The Valley Link feasibility study expects 13,800 "new” riders, mainly from an Isabel office and housing development. This is a minor portion of the Altamont traffic and an insignificant portion of total Tri-Valley trips. Both will be much higher than current levels.
In fact, BART riders current and future are a small percentage of I-580 corridor trips (to, through and from the Tri-Valley) because the overwhelming majority (85%) are not going to a BART service area. Valley Link will not reduce traffic congestion or greenhouse gas or CO2 emissions. Everyone in or near the I-580, I-680 and State Route 84 triangle will experience much higher congestion and air pollution. BART's 413,000 daily riders (207,000 people) is less than 6% of the 3.6 million residents of the 3 BART counties.
The shame of Valley Link and ACE to BART politics is that the only real benefit goes to developers along I-580 for the Isabel station area and downtown Tracy redevelopment, the construction folks who get to tear up the $345 million toll roads they completed just a few years back in order lay a single track ($600 million) down the middle of I-580, and a few thousand San Joaquin BART riders who don't pay BART taxes.
The tragedy of Valley Link is that there is a better option that accommodates the same ACE to BART riders plus the majority of trips from Stockton to San Jose and Redwood City.
The 2018 State Rail Plan, created by state transportation planners and expert rail consultants, indicated that ACE could be upgraded to electrified double-deck trains every 15 minutes at 125 mph. The Valley Link plan was added by local politicians. Near Shinn Street in Fremont, the Fremont/San Jose BART line passes 46 feet directly over the ACE tracks. A transfer-only station at that location with no parking or street access except for emergencies would cost less than $50 million. It would serve ACE to BART riders but also BART to ACE riders that are part of the 185,000 daily car trips using Dumbarton and San Mateo bridges from the east.
Unlike Dublin ACE to BART, East Bay bridge users could take the BART they have been paying into for years and transfer to ACE across Dumbarton to the Silicon Valley and the Peninsula. These new BART riders, in the reverse direction, would help increase fare box recovery and remove thousands of cars along I-880 at the bridge approaches.
The ACE Vision suggests one-hour travel times for express trains from Stockton to San Jose, Redwood City or Oakland. ACE trains to Santa Clara and Redwood City would provide a single-seat ride from San Joaquin, Tri-Valley, and Tri-Cities to and from San Francisco, Peninsula, and Silicon Valley. ACE riders
would have full mobility anywhere in the Northern California Megaregion. Modern, fast trains sharing the same track, signaling, power and stations, while connecting to the older, slower BART would be a more effective tool against climate change. Three of the four candidates for Alameda County supervisor indicated they would be willing to consider alternatives to Valley Link. Please vote.