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Ripon step closer to transit center for ACE rail, buses
ACE Train Pleasanton
Its possible that the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) train will come into Stanislaus County by 2019 and that Ceres might get a station like the one here seen in Pleasanton. Before this could happen, county voters must approve a half-cent sales tax. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

The Ripon Multimodal Station promises to be a key component in connecting downtown to the Central Valley and Bay Area.

The Ripon City Council continued to inch closer toward making that a reality by recently approving a Letter of Understanding with the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission to conduct the Environmental and Engineering / Design Phases.

"Upon execution of the LOU, SJRRC staff will submit the Federal Transit Authority grant application and begin a federal procurement to select a consultant for the environmental clearance and final design of the Ripon Multimodal Station," said Engineering Supervisor Elizabeth Quilici in her Jan. 12 staff report.

She noted that construction of a multimodal station has long been a priority for the City of Ripon.

The Altamont Corridor Express, a commuter rail service with several stops while connecting Stockton to San Jose, has plans of an extension from Manteca / Lathrop to Ceres — the final Environmental Impact Report has identified Ripon as one of the new station platforms.

"This station would be located on City-owned property near the Main Street Overcrossing, and includes a station platform, pedestrian overcrossing, and rehabilitation of a City-owned parking lot on Industrial Avenue to allow for initial passenger rail service to Ripon," Quilici said.

Council approved the purchase agreement for the land acquisition of the future station about three years ago, getting reimbursed via a grant made possible from the Regional Transportation Impact Fee.

The San Joaquin Council of Governments, in 2018, awarded $5.9 million of FTA funding to complete the federal environmental clearance and design phases along with partial construction for a multimodal station.

Quilici added that the multimodal station would include both the building and related off- and on- site improvements.

"The City is not an FTA grantee and therefore cannot receive the federal funding directly -- to date, the City has been unable to become an FTA grantee or find another entity to administer the grant on their behalf at a fair and reasonable cost, and as a result the funds have not been expended," she said.

Council approved the interagency agreement with San Joaquin Regional Transit District -- or RTD -- for FTA grant administration.

RTD was unable to become the grantee of these FTA funds, Quilici said.

She indicated that in June 2019, SJRRC entered into a contract with O’Dell Engineering for the final design of the station platform, pedestrian overcrossing, and rehabilitation of the City-owned parking lot on Industrial Avenue, as funded separately through Senate Bill 132.

The City, in partnership with SJCOG, discussed designating SJRRC as the lead and implementing agency for the multimodal station.

"Staff from both agencies have worked on a draft Letter of Understanding, identifying SJRRC as the lead agency for the Ripon Multimodal Station." said Quilici.