Valley Link

The Tri-Valley San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority presented an image of a future Valley Link railcar to the Tracy City Council on Jan. 15, 2019.

The first federal funding has started flowing toward construction of the Valley Link lightrail system.

The flow, hardly a flood, but at least a start, began this week in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where $20 million is included in the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021.

The committee has approved the legislation, which is headed to the House floor for final approval.

Inclusion of the Valley Link funds in the bill was requested by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin), a committee member. He said the funds will identify and integrate cost-effective ways to maximize the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions into the system’s planning, design and operation, “helping to make the project into a national model of environmental sustainability.”

Swalwell said connecting Valley Link to Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) at both ends of the 42-mile light-rail system — Lathrop in the east and the Dublin-Pleasanton BART station to the west — “has been among his top priorities since coming to Congress eight years ago.”

Tracy Mayor Pro Tem Veronica Vargas, chairman of the Tri-Valley/San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority Board, said Valley Link is fortunate in having a congressional representative “with such a strong commitment to our project goals.”

Federal and state grants are expected to provide critical levels of funding to build the lightrail system. Construction of the first phase of Valley Link is projected to be completed in 2028.

The 42-mile, seven-station commuter rail service will provide 74 daily round trips and is expected to carry more than 33,000 daily riders by 2040.

• Contact the Tracy Press at tpnews@tracypress.com or 209-835-3030.

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