Harder Announces New Phase for Valley Link, On Pace for Construction by 2025

Press Release

Date: June 2, 2022
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Transportation

Today, Representative Josh Harder and the Tri-Valley -- San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority announced that the Valley Link Rail Project has entered a new and critical phase. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has approved Valley Link's entry into the Project Development Phase of the Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program opening the door for hundreds of millions in federal funding to support the project. Valley Link is the first project located in the Central Valley to be included in the federal CIG program, which was reauthorized and expanded in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that Rep. Harder helped negotiate. Valley Link will ultimately connect Tracy, Mountain House, River Islands, and North Lathrop to the Bay Area, serving 100,000 daily commuters and creating 22,000 new jobs.

"I'm incredibly excited that Valley Link has joined the Capital Investments Grant Program, a huge step forward in getting this project across the finish line," said Rep. Harder. "Right now, commuters in Tracy and across the Valley have no choice but to spend hours a day stuck in traffic and away from their families. Valley Link will save our workers the stress, time, and money that comes from these ridiculously long commutes. I can't wait to see it up and running."

Valley Link will close a critical gap in the statewide rail system with a 42-mile, 7 station rail connection between the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station and the North Lathrop Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) station with all day service on BART frequencies during peak periods. With 33,000 daily riders projected by 2040, Valley Link will remove tens of thousands of cars off Interstates 580 and 205 and connect nearly 500 miles of passenger rail with more than 130 stations in the Northern California Megaregion -- removing up to 42,650 metrics tons of greenhouse gas emissions, creating 22,000 jobs, and supporting national goods movement by reducing heavy truck conflicts with cars on Interstates 580 and 205 that serve as life lines between the Port of Oakland and both domestic and international markets. Overall traffic on Interstate 580 is projected to increase by an estimated 60 percent from 2016 to 2040 and truck traffic is expected to increase by 58 percent.

The 26-mile Valley Link Rail Project Phase 1 between the Dublin/Pleasanton Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station in Alameda County and the Mountain House station in San Joaquin County, will connect tens of thousands of Northern San Joaquin Valley workers to the Tri-Valley at the center of the Northern California Megaregion -- one of the fastest growing and economically significant areas in the state of California.

FTA's action provides a unique leveraging opportunity for state funding as well. The state legislature is currently considering the FY 2022-23 State Budget, as proposed by Governor Newsom, which contains a $2 billion augmentation of the Transit Capital and Intercity Rail Program for transformative public transportation investments. That figure could increase to $11 billion if the State Senate's proposal is adopted. The legislature must approve a budget by June 15, with final action on any budget trailer bills by August 31.

Background on Valley Link

The full Valley Link rail project will provide a new 42-mile, 7 station rail connection between the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station in Alameda County and the North Lathrop Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) station in San Joaquin County with all day service on BART frequencies during peak periods -- providing an estimated 33,000 daily rides in 2040. The initial operating segment (IOS) between the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station and the Mountain House station, including the Isabel and South Front Road stations in Livermore, is targeted for construction in 2025. The Valley Link rail project is also leading innovation with a vision to be a model of sustainability connecting the Northern California megaregion with the first passenger rail system in California running on self-produced green hydrogen and a hydrogen fuel production facility able to support other transit and heavy truck operators. In addition to the use of zero emissions vehicle and green energy production technologies, the Valley Link Board-adopted Sustainability Policy identifies implementing strategies to achieve a zero emissions system through innovation station access. This includes electric autonomous shuttles, shared mobility, and support for local transit operator alternative vehicle technology.