Tracy’s antenna farm, once a field of communications antennae used by the Federal Aviation Administration, could soon become a maintenance yard for a new commuter rail service.

On Tuesday the Tracy City Council unanimously agreed to convey the 200 acres at no cost to the Tri-Valley-San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority, developer of the Valley Link line that will run between Stockton and the Dublin-Pleasanton BART station.

In her report to the council, City Attorney Leticia Ramirez noted that the no-cost transfer of the land is an in-kind contribution from the city toward the Valley Link project, and allows the rail authority to leverage the value of the land to seek matching federal funds.

The contract approved on Tuesday states that the 200 acres would become an operations and maintenance yard. The land sits just north of the rail line that Valley Link would use to cross over the Altamont Pass, with the tracks on the south side of the site and Schulte Road on the north end of the site.

If Valley Link is unable to develop the site as a maintenance yard within 10 years the land will revert back to the city.

The city of Tracy bought the land from the federal government in 2006. At the time the city had considered using it for a sports park. Previous plans for a school campus were scuttled because of the presence of a high-pressure natural gas line that runs diagonally across the property. It also had been proposed as an immigration detention facility, and proposals for the land since then have included using it as solar energy site.

Councilwoman Veronica Vargas, who is also the vice chair of the Tri-Valley-San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority, presented information from the authority’s economic studies, which project that the rail line will provide and estimated 22,000 jobs during construction, and the operations and maintenance facility will support 400 new jobs, with a labor income of $19 million per-year, and $69 million of business sales per-year.

• Contact the Tracy Press at tpnews@tracypress.com or 835-3030.

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