The Tri-Valley-San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority on Wednesday approved the final environmental impact report for the Valley Link rail project. Approval of the final EIR clears the way for the authority to continue design of the 42-mile, seven-station rail line between the Altamont Corridor Express North Lathrop Station and the Dublin/Pleasanton Bay Area Rapid Transit station.
The final EIR is a followup document to the December 2020 draft EIR. It includes comments from a range of government agencies and environmental groups as well as businesses and individuals, and it includes the rail authority’s responses to those comments, as well as revisions to the original report.
The draft EIR describes the alignment of the rail line and the location of its seven stations, including a Downtown Tracy Station at the existing Tracy Transit Station, with parking lots nearby on Sixth Street just west of Central Avenue, and between the railroad tracks and Fourth Street, just east of Central Avenue.
The report also describes two options for a Mountain House station, including one on Via Nicolo Road just west of Interstate 580, off of Patterson Pass Road, and another where Hansen Road meets the railroad tracks on the north side of the California Aqueduct.
Another station would be at the southwestern end of the River Islands development along the tracks just north of Interstate 5 near Dell’Osso Family Farms. Valley Link also has a 200-acre site on Schulte Road, between Lammers and Hansen roads on what was once known as the “Antenna Farm,” to be used as an operations and maintenance facility.
Tracy Mayor Pro Tem Veronica Vargas, chair of the Valley Link board of directors, said in a statement released Wednesday that the Valley Link line will go a long way toward improving the quality of life for San Joaquin Valley residents, who spend the equivalent of 28 days every year commuting to their jobs.
“I am proud that we have reached this important project milestone that moves the project closer to completion,” she said. “The project will bring congestion relief to more than 97,000 commuters traveling daily over the Altamont Pass.”
The rail authority expects service to begin as early as 2028, and by 2040 the line could be carrying up to 33,000 commuters every day. The authority cites studies that reported that construction of the line will create about 22,000 jobs, and once complete it will provide 400 jobs and have an estimated economic impact of $69 million per-year.
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