The State Assembly last week approved a bill to streamline the permitting process for construction of the 42-mile Valley Link passenger rail project connecting the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system and the Altamont Corridor Express.
The bill, SB 548, designates Valley Link as a Rail Transit District, which under state law exempts projects that run through multiple jurisdictions from local building codes during construction.
The vote in the Assembly was 74-0-2. The state Senate approved the bill 36-0-4 in May. SB 548 now goes to Gov. Gavin Newsom for his signature.
“Valley Link is a transformational project that will carry more than 33,000 riders a day on zero emission vehicles,” said Dublin Mayor Melissa Hernandez, vice chair of the Tri-Valley-San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority, which is responsible for the project. “I believe an end to the difficult super-commute is in sight with Valley Link.”
The Legislature created the Tri-Valley – San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority in 2017 with the primary goal of developing transit connectivity between the San Joaquin Valley and the Bay Area. The rail authority is governed by a board representing 15-member agencies, including Dublin, Pleasanton, and Livermore.
According to transit studies, the first Valley Link trains could be operating by 2028 and carry more than 33,000 passengers daily by 2040.
Valley link has a cost of $2.5 billion. The funding identified for the project is approaching $800 million.