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Valley Link Advances Into Funding Pipeline

Officials with the Tri-Valley – San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority (Authority) announced on June 1 that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has approved entry of the Valley Link Rail Project Phase 1 into Project Development of the Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program.

“Acceptance of Valley Link in to the CIG program marks a key milestone in advancing this transformational project forward,” said Veronica Vargas, Chair of the Authority Board of Directors. “This is the first, but critical step, in positioning Valley Link to compete for federal funding during a time when once-in-a-generation transit funding is available on the federal level.”

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.

“The Valley Link project has the potential to help thousands of commuters get out of traffic and more quickly back to their homes and families,” Senator Alex Padilla said. “The San Joaquin Valley and Bay Area have become increasingly linked as more Californians live in one region and work in another. I look forward to continuing to work with the Federal Transit Administration to support this vital project, reduce pollution and congestion, and improve quality of life in the region.”

“I’m incredibly excited that Valley Link was approved by the Federal Transit Administration, a huge step forward in getting this project across the finish line,” said Congressman Josh 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.”

The FTA approval of Valley Link into the CIG pipeline follows the March 23, 2022 unanimous adoption of Valley Link as part of the regional project priorities for the CIG Program by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

Valley Link will ultimately 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 ACE station with all day service on BART frequencies during peak periods. With 33,000 daily riders projected by 2040, Valley Link would 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 metric 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.

FTA’s action provides a unique leveraging opportunity for state funding as well. The California State Legislature is currently considering the FY 2022-23 State Budget, as proposed by Governor Gavin Newsom, which contains a $2 billion augmentation of the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital 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.

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 Valley Link Project Phase 1 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.

Additional information on the Tri-Valley – San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority, is available on the Regional Rail Authority’s website at