EIR Released for Valley Rail Project

EIR Released for Valley Rail Project

Public Comment Period Now Open Regarding Track Improvements, New Station Buildout, and Increased Passenger Rail Service through Bay Area, San Joaquin, Sacramento Corridors

(March 31, 2019, Sacramento, CA) Today the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (SJRRC) issued a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) consistent with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for the “Valley Rail Sacramento Extension” Project (proposed project). This opens a 45-day public comment period where stakeholders are encouraged to review the document’s discussion of environmental issues associated with the proposed project and provide comments back to SJRRC, which is serving as the lead agency for the EIR.

The Valley Rail Sacramento Extension Project would expand Amtrak San Joaquins and Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) passenger rail services to the greater Sacramento area through the construction of six new rail stations and track improvements along the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) Sacramento Subdivision train tracks. The Project includes the potential implementation of two new roundtrips of San Joaquins service operating on the Sacramento, Fresno, and BNSF Stockton Subdivisions, as well as an extension of existing ACE service to the proposed Natomas Station. The Project also includes service from the proposed Natomas Station to the Ceres ACE Station included in the ACE Extension Lathrop to Ceres/Merced project. The six new stations would be constructed in the following locations: Lodi, south Sacramento (to be named the “North Elk Grove” station), City College, Midtown Sacramento, Old North Sacramento, and Natomas/Sacramento Airport (with a shuttle connection to and from the Sacramento International Airport).

In 2018, the California State Transportation Agency awarded approximately $500.5 million in grant funds for capital improvements in the Valley Rail Project, a coordinated plan by the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority and the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission. The primary objectives of the proposed project are to:

  • Expand passenger rail service to new markets in San Joaquin and Sacramento counties;
  • Increase frequency of service;
  • Increase passenger rail ridership;
  • Reduce travel time between the San Joaquin Valley and the Sacramento area;
  • Augment existing transit capacity and provide transit connections;
  • Provide an alternative to automobile traffic congestion;
  • Improve regional air quality;
  • Reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; and
  • Support local and regional land use development plans and policies.

The proposed project would also contribute to geographic equity by providing increased connectivity within the Central Valley, including Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, and Fresno counties; the Bay Area; and the greater California rail network via two future high-speed rail (HSR) connections in Merced and San Jose.

SJRRC invites input on the DEIR from all relevant stakeholders and public agencies during this 45-day public comment period. Currently, there are three meetings tentatively scheduled to allow public presentation and discussion of the EIR:

  • Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM: Located at the North Natomas Community Room
  • Tuesday, April 28, 2020 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM:  Located at the Midtown Community Association
  • Monday, May 11, 2020 at 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM: Located at Laguna Town Hall in Elk Grove

Please note that SJRRC and SJJPA staff are continuing to monitor developments related to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on a daily basis and participate in frequent updates from local, state, and federal public health agencies and local jurisdictions. Out of concern for public health and safety, there is a possibility that open houses for the Valley Rail Sacramento Extension DEIR will be replaced with an online, virtual open house. Please check the project website at www.acerail.com or www.sjjpa.com for the most up-to-date information regarding open houses for the Valley Rail Sacramento Extension DEIR.

Written responses and comments on the DEIR of the Valley Rail Sacramento Extension Project are encouraged and will be accepted until 5:00 PM on May 15, 2020.

Comments may be sent via email to ace.sacramentoextension@gmail.com, or via mail to:

San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission
Attn: Valley Rail Sacramento Extension DEIR
949 E. Channel Street
Stockton, CA 95202

Please include “Valley Rail Sacramento Extension DEIR” in the subject heading for emailed comments.

A copy of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (including all appendices) can be found on the project website at www.acerail.com or www.sjjpa.com/valley-rail/.

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