Downtown SF Rail Extension, VTA, Valley Link, along with WETA ferry and microtransit score millions in state funding

down town terminal
The High-Speed Rail Downtown Rail Extension, known as The Portal. Courtesy WSP.

The Bay Area was awarded money for a half dozen projects totaling $160 million — about 60% of the amount available outside Southern California — in the latest funding announcement from the state’s Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program.

This follows $1 billion in funding the region received earlier this year from the program.

The funding, announced this week, includes project development awards of $60 million to the High-Speed Rail Downtown Rail Extension — known as The Portal — and $25 million to Valley Link. Those projects were pushed forward by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission as part of the Major Project Advancement Policy (MAP). Another $47 million was awarded to VTA for construction of the Eastridge to BART Regional Connector.

The regional projects in more detail:

Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA), Project: Downtown Rail Extension TIRCP Project Development - $60 million. Funding will advance the final design for the Downtown Rail Extension (DTX), known as The Portal, while positioning the project to advance in engineering work with the Federal Transit Association Capital Investment Grants program by meeting FTA local funding milestones. Funding will also position the project to apply for future construction funding from TIRCP.

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), Project: Eastridge to BART Regional Connector - $47 million. The project will result in a 2.4-mile extension of the VTA light rail system intended to create new regional and multimodal connectivity for East San Jose. It creates a direct rail link between VTA's second busiest bus transit center at the Eastridge Mall in San Jose, the new Milpitas BART Station, and the rest of the VTA light rail system. The extension will include an elevated light rail station at Story Road with a pedestrian overcrossing, and a ground level station at the Eastridge Transit Center. When the project is complete, VTA riders will be able to get on light rail at the Eastridge Transit Center and connect directly with BART at the Milpitas Station.

Tri-Valley – San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority, Project: Valley Link Rail - $25 million.  This award for funding from the Major Projects – Project Development category advances design, equity focused community engagement and third-party agreements for the Valley Link Rail Project during the current Project Development phase under the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grants Program. This funding will serve as a resource in identifying and addressing major risks prior to completing Project Development in May 2024 and solidify the CIG program funding request with the most accurate project cost estimate while ensuring the advancement of equitable and authentic community engagement. Once completed, the project will create a new 22-mile passenger rail transit system connecting the cities of Dublin, Pleasanton, Livermore, and the Mountain House Community Services District with all-day, bidirectional service at frequent intervals throughout the day.

San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA), Project: San Francisco – Alameda/Oakland Rapid Electric Emission Free Ferry (REED) - $14 million. The project expands electrical infrastructure to the Downtown San Francisco Ferry Terminal, the Alameda Main Street Ferry Terminal, and WETA’s Central Bay Maintenance Facility. This will enhance the electric capacity at those sites and allow for expansion of electric propelled, zero-emission ferry service along the Main Street Alameda-Oakland to San Francisco route. The existing vessels will be converted to electric operations, and three new electric vessels will also be procured.

Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA), Project: Capitol Corridor Emerging Market Access Program - $11 million. This award for funding from the Major Projects – Project Development category will continue support for the Link21 Megaregional Rail Program effort, which is planning for the construction of a second underground train crossing of the San Francisco Bay. This crossing will enable riders access to destinations across Northern California, which includes the greater San Francisco Bay Area, the Sacramento area, the Monterey Bay area, and the Northern San Joaquin Valley

Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) with City of Hercules and others. Another award for the Capitol Corridor will go, in part, toward design for a multimodal transit facility in Hercules, to be served by local bus, intercity rail, and proposed ferry services

City of Richmond, Project: Richmond MOVES Microtransit - $3 million. The project expands existing microtransit to provide service across the entire city boundary of the City of Richmond with zero-emission vehicles. In total, the microtransit fleet will expand from three to eight zero-emission vehicles to operate the service city-wide. Launched in April 2022, the service known as “Richmond MOVES” was designed with the goal of providing better service to disadvantaged areas of Richmond by providing general mobility and greater access to regional mobility hubs such as the Richmond BART/Amtrak station, the El Cerrito del Norte BART station and the Richmond Ferry Terminal.

 “These investments will help kick-start new transit projects, create thousands of jobs and put our state in a stronger position to compete for significant federal infrastructure funding to deliver even more mobility, safety, environmental and equity benefits,” said California Transportation Secretary Toks Omishakin. 

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