The Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) recently opened a 45-day comment period to consider requests from the Tri-Valley/San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority in an effort to secure $400 million for the planned Valley Link project.
Among the actions being sought, the rail authority is seeking recognition as a new agency in Alameda County in order to receive Measure BB transportation sales tax funds from ACTC, removing the BART to Livermore project and adding Valley Link to the expenditure plan.
In a statement, Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, who sits on ACTC and is chair of the Regional Rail Authority, said that "the significance of this action cannot be overstated."
"The residents of the Tri-Valley have waited for more than half a century for the BART to Livermore extension that never happened," Haggerty said. "When this action is complete, almost 25% of the cost to build Valley Link will be secured and we will have taken a significant step to actually seeing rail transit service in Livermore and beyond."
Following the 45-day comment period, ACTC is slated to consider the authority's requested actions later in September.
Valley Link is a proposed commuter light rail system that would connect Livermore, the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) train system and San Joaquin Valley communities to the BART system in Pleasanton and Dublin.
A report presented to the Regional Rail Authority last month states that the Valley Link project will also have a significant economic impact in the Tri-Valley. The independent analysis included both immediate and long-range impacts of both the construction phase and ongoing operations and maintenance on employment, income and value added.
Key findings of the analysis project that around 22,000 jobs will be created during the construction phase with worker income of $1.35 billion, and generate $3.5 billion in local business sales. When operational, Valley Link is expected to support about 400 jobs annually with labor income of more than $19 million per year, and generate $69 million in annual business sales.
"I am very pleased by the results of this analysis of the economic impact of Valley Link," Haggerty said. "This project will not only get our vital workforce to their jobs once complete, but will also add 22,000 jobs to boost the economy during the construction phase."
Tracy City Councilwoman Veronica Vargas, the authority's vice chair, also said Valley Link's value as a transportation option that will provide nearly 30,000 rides a day "cannot be overstated," and that the project will "provide a significant job stimulus in the region" during a time of economic stress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first phase of the Valley Link rail service project will connect the eastern Dublin-Pleasanton BART station to the proposed ACE North Lathrop Station over a 42-mile stretch by using the I-580 median, the abandoned railroad right-of-way through the Altamont Pass and the Union Pacific Railroad corridor. Service would be extended from the North Lathrop station to the ACE and Amtrak Stockton Station in its second phase.
Trains would be scheduled to conveniently transfer riders to BART. The first Valley Link trains are currently estimated to be in service as early as 2027.