Altamont Corridor Vision
The Altamont Corridor that connects the San Joaquin Valley to the Bay Area is one of the most heavily traveled, most congested, and fastest growing corridors in the Northern California megaregion. The Bay Area Council estimates that congestion will increase an additional 75% between 2016 and 2040. To achieve state and regional environmental and economic development goals, a robust passenger rail alternative is needed in the Altamont Corridor to alleviate congestion, increase mobility, and provide greater connectivity.
The “Altamont Corridor Vision” is the result of a partnership between the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (Altamont Corridor Express [ACE]), the Tri-Valley - San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority (Valey Link), and the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (San Joaquins). The Altamont Corridor Vision will provide safe, frequent, and reliable regional rail service by modernizing passenger rail in the Altamont Corridor. The vastly improved infrastructure would be separated from freight, with predominately two tracks, mostly grade separated, electrified, to enable fast (up to 125 mph maximum speeds), and frequent services. It would be a “universal” passenger rail infrastructure that could be used by a variety of services. This program is consistent with the 2018 State Rail Plan, 2007 MTC Regional Rail Plan, MTC Resolution 3829 from 2007, and the CHSRA’s Altamont Corridor Rail Project. The Altamont Corridor Vision would allow for the possibility of a one-seat ride across the megaregion with travel times as little as one hour between Stockton/Modesto to San Jose, Oakland and the Peninsula. It would also be compatible with HSR trains and enable a one-seat ride from the HSR initial operating segment in the San Joaquin Valley.
The Altamont Corridor Vision from Stockton to San Jose is estimated to need $9.7 billion in funding. The segment from Newark to North Lathrop is estimated at needing about $6.6 billion in funding. Improvements in the Altamont Corridor can be phased based upon the funding that is available. Incremental improvements can bring near-term benefits and help lead to the development of the ultimate Altamont Corridor Vision. In the short-term, the goal is to add two additional ACE round-trips between the San Joaquin Valley and San Jose and have full weekend service, and to initiate Valley Link service between Dublin/Pleasanton BART and North Lathrop (with 25 daily round trips). Another key short-term goal is the transformational implementation of a new 3.5 mile tunnel in the Altamont Pass and to straighten the alignment throughout the pass to enable speeds up to 125 mph that would be used by both ACE and Valley Link services (decreasing travel times by 11 – 15 minutes). Implementing these short-term goals is the first phase/highest priority for Altamont Corridor Vision implementation. In the mid-term, the goal is to add 4 additional ACE round trips to San Jose (bringing to total to 10 daily round trips) which will require improvements through the wetlands between Newark and Alviso to add capacity and raise the profile of the alignment to address sea level rise, and to extend the Valley Link service to Stockton (with a total of 30 round trips). The completed Altamont Corridor Vision is the long-term goal.
The Bay Area Council, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, SPUR and TransForm are focused on getting a $100 billion Bay Area transportation measure called “FASTER Bay Area” on the ballot for the November 2020 election for the nine Bay Area counties (MTC region). San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (SJRRC), Tri-Valley – San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority, and San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (SJJPA) are focused on trying to get the Bay Area improvements of Phase 1 of the Altamont Corridor Vision to be funded as part of the FASTER Bay Area measure. Please see letters of support for including $1.9 billion in FASTER Bay Area for the Altamont Corridor Vision Phase 1 linked below.