The Altamont Corridor that connects the San Joaquin Valley to the Bay Area is the most heavily travelled, most congested, and fastest growing corridor in the Northern California megaregion. The Bay Area Council estimates that congestion will increase an additional 120% in coming decades. To achieve state and regional environmental and economic development goals, a robust alternative is needed to aleviate congestion and provide greater connectivity.
The Altamont Corridor Vision will provide safe, frequent, and reliable service by modernizing the corridor connecting the Central Valley and San Francisco Bay Area. Consistent with the 2018 State Rail Plan, 2007 MTC Regional Rail Plan, and the Altamont Corridor Rail Project, the Vision provides for shared services, dramatically reduced travel times, one-seat rides, express service, and megaregional connectivity. The proposed universal infrasructure would allow connectivity to and through the HSR initial operating segment at Merced.
For more information, CLICK HERE and see the notes below regarding each slide.
Slide 1: Cover Slide
The “Altamont Corridor Vision” is partnership between the Tri-Valley –San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority (Valley Link Program), the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (owner/operator of ACE), and the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (the managing agency for the Amtrak San Joaquins service).
This information was presented to the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission on May 3 and will be presented to the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority at their May 31 Board Meeting.
Slide 2: Current ACE Connectivity Map
The ACE service has been operating for over 20 years. ACE is focused on serving commuters from San Joaquin County and Alameda County to the Silicon Valley/Santa Clara County and commuters from San Joaquin Valley to Alameda County. ACE runs on UPRR own track and right-of-way and is currently restricted to 4 daily round trips. ACE ridership has been steadily growing and is currently at about 1.5 million passengers a year.
Slide 3: Valley Link
AB 758 (Eggman), which was passed in 2017, established the Tri-Valley –San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority. This Authority is moving forward with the Valley Link Project that will connect to BART (at the Dublin/Pleasanton Station) to ACE via the I-580 right-of-way at a Greenville Road Station in Livermore. Valley Link will then proceed over the Altamont Pass using Alameda County owned right-of-way to get to San Joaquin County – with several stops in San Joaquin County. Phase 1 of the Valley Link Program is between Dublin/Pleasanton Station and the North Lathrop Station and is estimated to cost $1.8 billion. The Tri-Valley-San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority already has secured about $600 million in funding for the Valley Rail Project predominately from Alameda Measure BB funds (and other Bay Area funding sources).
Slide 4: More Commuters Making MegaRegional Trips
It is well known that the I-580/I-680 is one of the most congested/heavily trafficked corridors in Northern California and that the congestion in the I-580/I-680 corridor is expected to continue to get considerably worse in the coming years.
As shown in this slide done by the Bay Area Council, the Altamont Corridor is the largest Megaregional in-commute corridor to the Bay Area with over 86,000 daily commuters coming from the Northern San Joaquin Valley to the Bay Area every weekday morning. This is also the fastest growing corridor for Megaregional commuters.
Slide 5: 2018 State Rail Plan 2040 Vision
The 2018 State Rail Plan envisions vastly improved passenger rail service in the Altamont Corridor. For the 2040 Vision, the State Rail Plan shows ½ hour frequencies along the Altamont Corridor with connectivity to San Jose, Oakland, the Peninsula (via a new Dumbarton Crossing) and San Francisco (via a new Transbay Crossing).
The Altamont Corridor Vision builds upon the 2018 State Rail Plan and provides more details for the type of passenger infrastructure that should ultimately be implemented in this corridor.
Slide 6: Altamont Corridor Program
For the Altamont Corridor there are short-term and mid-term goals, and then the longer-term “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 24 daily round trips).
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), and to extend the Valley Link service to Stockton (with a total of 30 round trips).
The longer term “Vision” is a passenger rail corridor which could have a variety of passenger services and would be separated from freight, with predominately two passenger tracks, mostly grade separated, and electrified – that would enable very frequent service (15 minute headways). This Altamont Corridor Vision would enable one-seat rides between the San Joaquin Valley and the Tri-Valley to San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco and the Peninsula.
It is possible to fund the short-term, perhaps even the mid-term goals utilizing existing funding sources. However the long term “Vision” would require substantial new funding sources.
Slide 7: Evolution of the Altamont Corridor Vision
The Altamont Corridor Vision builds on the 2018 State Rail Plan, but this concept is not new.
The Altamont Corridor Vision is consistent with and also takes advantage of the work done on the 2007 MTC San Francisco Bay Area Regional Rail Plan and is consistent with MTC Resolution 3829 from 2007. It also takes advantage of the work done part of the Altamont Corridor Rail Project by the California High-Speed Rail Authority from 2009 to 2011.
Slide 8: Invest in capacity and travel times
The cost for the ultimate infrastructure between Newark and North Lathrop is estimated at about $6 billion.
This is for electrified infrastructure, separated from freight, double-tracked with express capabilities which would have maximum speeds of about 125 mph.
It is assumed that there would be major infrastructure investments such as new tunneling (about 3.5 miles) in the Altamont Pass, and about 4 miles of tunneling to avoid Niles Canyon. Significant improvements would also be needed in Fremont, the Tri-Valley and San Joaquin Valley cities.
Slide 9: Universal Corridors, Shared Facilities
The Altamont Corridor Vision from Stockton to San Jose is estimated to cost a little over $9 billion.
$2.5 billion for the segment from Newark to San Jose. This cost is from the Capitol Corridor Vision study and would be shared with the Capitol Corridor between Newark and San Jose and with the Caltrain Corridor from Santa Clara to San Jose.
$0.7 billion for the segment between North Lathrop and Stockton.
$9 billion may sound like a very high cost, but this is very much in line with infrastructure being planned on the Caltrain and Capitol Corridors. The cost of the Capitol Corridor between Sacramento and Oakland is estimated at about $12 billion. The cost for new bay crossings from Oakland to SF has been said to be as high as $20 billion.
The limited stop (two intermediate stops) travel time between Stockton and San Jose is estimated at 1 hour.
The local travel time between Stockton and San Jose (all stops) is estimated at 75 minutes.
Slide 10: Universal Corridors, Shared Facilities
With investment in “Universal Infrastructure” throughout the San Joaquin Valley and in the Bay Area, would enable one-seat rides via the Altamont Corridor to San Jose, the Peninsula via a new Dumbarton Bridge, Oakland, and San Francisco via a new Transbay Crossing.
Slide 11: Universal Corridors, Shared Facilities
Express travel times between Stockton or Modesto to San Jose, Oakland or the Peninsula in an hour.
Express travel times between Merced to San Jose, Oakland or the Peninsula in one hour and 20 minutes.
Universal infrastructure would be compatible with HSR and would enable a one-seat ride from the High-Speed Rail initial operating segment at Merced.
Slide 12: Megaregional Network Integration
This figure shows how high-speed rail Phase 1 (shown in yellow) would integrate with potential Megaregional “universal infrastructure” shown in green, where all these rail lines would have compatible infrastructure.
Slide 13: San Joaquin Valley – Sacramento Corridor
The San Joaquin Valley – Sacramento Corridor also has short-term, and mid-term goals and a longer-term vision.
The short-term vision for this corridor is fully funded through the “Valley Rail” Program. This program will be adding 7 additional round trips between the San Joaquin Valley and Sacramento (5 ACE and 2 San Joaquins) bringing the total trips to 9 daily round trips.
The mid-term is to have hourly service.
The longer-term “Vision” (like vison for the Altamont Corridor) is to have 15 – 30 minute headways, electrified, separated from freight, on a “Universal Corridor”.
Slide 14: Questions
Next steps will be developing ridership estimates and benefits analysis. A detailed technical memo is also being written.