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McNerney seeks $450M for ACE high speed rail
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Congressman Jerry McNerney is behind legislation to secure $450 million in federal funds over the next 10 years to help build the Altamont Commuter Express high speed rail service between Stockton and San Jose.

“The Altamont Corridor Rail Project is an important part of improving both our area’s economic future and our quality of life,” McNerney said Wednesday after introducing the legislation. “This project will create jobs, provide a significantly faster way to travel between the Central Valley and the Bay Area, and reduce traffic on busy highways. It’s a good investment for our entire region.”

High speed rail on the 85-mile corridor has the potential of carrying 35,000 people each way when completed as well as slashing the commute time between San Jose and Stockton in half.

It would take cars off the clogged Interstate 580 corridor connecting the Northern San Joaquin Valley and the Bay Area.

The envisioned new tracks across the Altamont Pass will allow speeds up to 150 miles per hour compared to conventional trains that move at times as slow as 10 mph on the windy route plus have to deal with freight traffic.

The commute is now about two hours and 10 minutes from Lathrop/Manteca to San Jose. It is a time comparable with driving at the worst part of the commute. Riders among the 3,700 who take ACE on an average day say they prefer the train as they are more relaxed and can do other thing such as work, sleep, or read.

The faster speed possible over the Altamont would reduce the time to 55 minutes even with running at much slower speeds than 150 mph through the populated areas on both sides of the Altamont Pass.

House of Representatives Bill 1504, the legislation introduced by McNerney, authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to provide up to $450 million in grants over the next decade for preliminary engineering, final design and construction of the Altamont Corridor Rail Project.

The ACE project is also eligible to compete for a share of the $10 billion state bond measure that California voters approved in 2008 for high speed rail projects.