Grabbing an ACE train in downtown Manteca, downtown Ripon, or River Islands at Lathrop and taking rail transit all the way to San Francisco is part of a regional drive to reduce congestion on Bay Area freeways as well as Interstate 205 heading out of the Northern San Joaquin Valley.
The Manteca City Council on Tuesday is being asked to join other jurisdictions in officially supporting efforts to move forward with building a BART connection to an ACE station by extending the light rail system 10 miles down the Interstate 580 corridor from the Dublin/Pleasanton station to Greenville Road in Livermore near Livermore Lab.
The first phase of 4.8 miles carries a $1.2 billion price tag.
A study conducted by BART in 2010 estimates the connection would pump up transit ridership by 30,000 passengers a year.
Currently ACE riders wanting to catch BART ride ACE to the ACE station in Pleasanton and take a 10-minute shuttle bus to the BART station at Dublin/Pleasanton.
The increased efficiency of taking heavy and light rail to San Francisco not only will help reduce mounting commute traffic as more and more Bay Area families and single people are driven into the 209 region to seek affordable homes to buy and apartments to rent, but it will also keep trucks moving over Altamont Pass that serves as the key corridor for freight movement between the San Joaquin Valley and the Port of Oakland. The Interstate 580 route is becoming more critical to move goods into the Bay Area as distribution centers continue to relocate to the South County.
An added advantage would be the ability to catch rail for recreation activities ranging from attending sporting events and concerts to shopping and dining excursions into the Bay Area. ACE now provides essentially direct service to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara while BART has an actual stop at the Oakland Coliseum and a stop within walking distance of AT&T Park. The new Golden State Warriors Arena planned just south of AT&T Park would also be within walking distance. The San Jose ACE station is within walking distance of SAP Arena in San Jose.
Should transit ridership spike and growth patterns continue and the initial high speed hybrid plan to take riders from the Los Angeles area into San Jose by switching to an upgraded ACE train system in Merced, ACE trains would be running seven days a week opening up new possibilities to help ease weekend Bay Area congestion as well.
The Altamont Regional Rail Working Group was formed in October 2015 for the purpose of facilitating and accelerating the planning and construction of a BART to ACE connection in the Tri-Valley. Working Group members include elected officials from the City of Livermore, City of Dublin, City of Pleasanton, County of Alameda, County of San Joaquin, City of Tracy, BART, ACE, the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA), and representatives of regional business organizations including the East Bay Leadership Council, Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group and the San Joaquin Partnership.
The Northern California Megaregion Report issued by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute identified the BART to ACE connection as a key infrastructure needed to support the Northern California economy that’s considered one of the fastest growing economies in the country. Northern San Joaquin Valley to the Bay Area commuters more than doubled from 1990 to 2013.
Bay Area jobs are held by almost one out of every six Northern San Joaquin Valley residents that are in the workforce.
The City Council meets at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com