An infusion of $46.8 million in funding to prepare for the Valley Link project's next stage was approved by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) last month.
The allocation of Assembly Bill 1171 bridge toll funds to the Tri-Valley/San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority was unanimously approved at the June 24 meeting of the MTC.
The funds will be used to finish certain activities before the project moves into final design and construction like preliminary engineering, environmental clearance and coordinating with Caltrans and other agencies. MTC previously allocated just over $13 million for California Environmental Quality Act documentation and conceptual design work that the Regional Rail Authority said is close to being finished.
In a statement, Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, who chairs both the Regional Rail Authority and MTC, said the funding will keep the project "on track and get us closer to shovel ready."
"I credit the MTC commissioners for recognizing the urgent need for this project and, on behalf of the 98,500 Bay Area workers who travel through the Altamont Pass each day, I thank them for their unanimous vote in support of the project," Haggerty said.
When completed, the planned 42-mile Valley Link project will connect the future North Lathrop ACE train station with the existing Dublin-Pleasanton BART Station via a commuter light-rail system that includes a total of seven stations along the service line. The project is estimated to generate 22,000 jobs during the construction phase and support 400 operational support jobs with over $19 million of labor income per year, and bring in $69 million in annual business sales once the line is in service.
About 28,000 passengers are expected to use the system in 2040, which the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority estimates will result in nearly 100 million fewer vehicle miles traveled and the reduction of more than 33,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
"Valley Link is vital to our environment and the quality of life in our communities -- and now, more than ever, more vital to our economy given the recovery needs we are now facing," Haggerty said. "It will create jobs, support our work force and for many offer a chance to have a safe and affordable choice about where they can live and work."