The Tri-Valley-San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority (RRA) approved the necessary paperwork to complete the funding for its study that will produce a rail link between San Joaquin County and BART.

Directors approved the application at their June 13 meeting. The $750,000 Sustainable Communities grant for RRA already had been announced by CalTrans, but the approved application completed the formality.

The grant will join $521,000 from Metropolitan Transportation Commission and $300,000 from the San Joaquin County Council of Government, said RRA Executive Director Michael Tree.

The resulting $1.5 million sum will cover a $1.3 million contract with consultant AECOM, which will perform the feasibility study in the next six to eight months. Grant money also will be used for RRA expenses, such as meeting spaces and stipends for board members.

The board hopes to see the study by January or February, said Tree. Meanwhile, directors will try to determine what they think should be the route, when they meet July 11 at the Martinelli Center in rural Livermore.

The board also heard a presentation from Stadler, a Swiss manufacturer of Diesel Multiple Units (DMU) and Electric Multiple Units (EMU). BART is using low emission DMU trains in its line from Antioch.

The powering mechanism is in the center of the train unit; cars are added front and back of it.

RRA members were interested in the potential flexibility offered by Stadler, said Tree. RRA could possibly start with DMU, then be converted to a hybrid train, which would use diesel going uphill, but battery-stored electricity going downhill, something like a hybrid car. Stadler is also working on an all-electric train engine run on batteries, but that is some years away.

According to Tree, Stadler also makes electric trains that draw their power from overhead cables, like a streetcar, but directors believe there are probably too many overhead physical impediments in urban areas like Tracy to make those trains practical for the project.

The board chose a name for the project. It will be called the “Valley Link.” It replaces “Megaregion Connection to Tri-Valley BART Extension.”