Representatives from Valley Link Rail Presented Project Plans to River Islands Residents

April 24, 2019

Representatives from Valley Link Rail Presented Project Plans to River Islands Residents

On Saturday, April 6, members of the Tri Valley and San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority held an information session at the new Fire Station 35 to unveil plans for the Valley Link Rail Project. This new rail system will establish a critical connection between the San Joaquin Valley, Tri-Valley, and Bay Area, providing commuters fast and reliable service through one of the region’s most heavily travelled and congested corridors. Board members Veronica Vargas (Tracy), Paul Akinjo (Lathrop), and Bernice Tingle (Mountain House) presented River Islands residents with the approved Valley Link Project plan, and were on hand to answer questions.

From 2013-2016, the number of commuters from San Joaquin County increased by 27% and in 2017, it was averaged that over 5,000 hours collectively are spent in traffic in an average day, with a large percentage occurring along I-580. Given the pace of new home construction in San Joaquin Valley and Tri-Valley, and overall job growth numbers in the region, we expect these numbers to keep increasing. Currently, ACE offers roundtrip service to the Bay Area only four times per day.

That is where Valley Link comes in. The Northern California Megaregion Rail Connection is a common-sense solution to our region’s traffic challenges because it will provide a direct connection between ACE and BART, and will utilize the existing historic Transcontinental right-of-way through Altamont Pass that had been deeded to Alameda County from Southern Pacific Railroad in the 1980s. Because a land purchase is not required, resulting in dramatically reduced project costs compared to other alternatives, Valley Link Rail will significantly expand train service from existing ACE service areas to the BART Dublin/Pleasanton station, and will be rolled out in two phases. The project is currently at the end of the design stage, with an anticipated operational date of phase one within the next four to seven years and a possible groundbreaking of 2019-2020.

This is very exciting for River Islands residents in particular, because the project’s first phase includes a station in our community! The first phase is ambitious and includes the following:

  • Greenville ACE Station bumpout/expansion
  • Isobel Station
  • Mountain House
  • Downtown Tracy
  • River Islands
  • North Lathrop

Phase two will further expand service into Stockton from the ACE North Lathrop Station to the existing ACE and Amtrak Stockton Station.

What this means for River Islands:

  • An accessible and convenient option for commuting residents to travel to/from the Bay Area by train
  • Station location will be off I-205 in the business park
  • A transit village that will include retail
  • Two separate parking areas, one each for residents and non-residents to prevent unwanted traffic through the community

Operations and service goals:

  • Valley Link trains will provide service daily from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., with increased service frequency during peak hours of 5:00 to 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on weekdays
  • Project aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 260 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year by 2040, to operate on renewable energy sources, and to promote equity to disadvantaged communities
  • Valley Link will strive to become a reliable, safe, and attractive alternative to car commuting, with Wi-Fi throughout, clean trains and stations, bathrooms, onsite security, and shuttle service to/from trains and job sites
  • Future considerations will include a system of unifying ticket sales between Valley Link, ACE, and BART; hiring conductors; and the possibility of an “honor system”

For more information about Valley Link Rail, as well as detailed information about what has currently been approved by the board of directors, please visit https://www.valleylinkrail.com/.

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