Valley Link is asking Faster Bay Area for money to improve rail service and speed up traffic along I-580.
Michael Tree, Valley Link’s executive director, said the board authorized a letter of support for the project and a request for money during its Sept. 11 meeting at the Martinelli Events Center near Livermore.
Tree said Valley Link is an ideal project for Faster Bay Area because the plan provides trains linking Tracy to the East Dublin/Pleasanton BART station, which would eliminate some of the traffic on I-580. BART has already agreed to give Valley Link the $400 million Alameda County voters approved for the BART extension from East Dublin/Pleasanton to Livermore. BART’s board voted 5 to 4 to not do the extension, but agreed to leave the money for Valley Link. It will also receive about $200 million in Bay Area bridge toll money.
Valley Link is seeking an additional $600 million from Faster Bay Area for completing a 10-mile stretch rail along the I-580 corridor. The project would connect the East Dublin/Pleasanton station to a future transit station at Isabel Avenue in Livermore, and place a station at Greenville Road. It would cost an estimated $1.2 billion.
Valley Link also wants Faster Bay Area to contribute to its long-term plan. The first phase of the Altamont Corridor would run from Greenville Station to Mountain House Station at the Alameda/San Joaquin County line. It would provide a universal passenger rail infrastructure that wouldn’t have to share tracks with freight lines.
The current infrastructure isn’t designed for high-speed rail. But a three-mile tunnel and straightened passenger tracks along the Altamont Corridor would allow trains to run at 125 miles an hour, shaving off 15 minutes each way for commuters traveling between East Dublin/Pleasanton and San Joaquin County, according to Tree. Valley Link wants $1.1 billion from Faster Bay Area to pay for that plan.
Valley Link is also asking for another $200 million for station and equipment upgrades in the Bay Area that are ACE-related to the Altamont Corridor.
Faster Bay Area has not firmed up its plan to do the work by 2040. Its organizers are still looking into the political and financial feasibility. They are examining how the public would react to different ways of paying for it.
Faster Bay Area is led by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, the Bay Area Council and the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association.
The San Joaquin Council of Governments is considering putting a measure on the ballot in 2022 for Valley Link in San Joaquin County, Tree noted.