BART and you're there — in Central Valley? Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty likes the sound of that, as he's leading the charge to extend the reach of the Bay Area's regional transit system to Livermore, from which it would connect to the ACE train line that runs from San Jose to Stockton.
“With Bay Area home prices being what they are, more and more workers are moving into the valley,” Haggerty tells the Chronicle's investigative duo Matier and Ross. “Connecting BART with the ACE train isn’t far-fetched. It makes sense.”
The idea itself isn't new: Many BART maps still include mention of a planned Livermore extension, and, per the agency's website, "BART staff is currently developing conceptual engineering for the proposed project and is preparing a project-level Draft Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIR) for the proposed project," which is due for public review and input in early 2017.
The BART to Livermore Extension project is a proposal to extend the BART rail line by 4.8-miles along I-580 from the existing Dublin/Pleasanton Station to a new station in the vicinity of the Isabel Avenue interchange. The Project would also incorporate improvements to the local bus system, connections with key activity centers in Livermore and inter-regional rail service. The proposed extension would provide an alternative to traffic congestion on the busy Interstate 580 (I-580) corridor, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants and expand opportunities for transit-oriented development.
There's little doubt that Bay Area roadways are increasingly mired in traffic and congestion, a situation highlighted effectively by a recent visualization from Facebook's director of engineering Yuji Higaki.
While the Metropolitan Transit Commission voted last week to give Haggerty and team $2.2 million to explore the effort, BART itself is less keen on the idea. The president of BART's Board of Directors calls Haggerty's plan "a road to boondoggle,” pointing out that the proposal would need to move five miles of lanes on I-580.
Haggerty doesn't feel like waiting, characterizing the environmental review to the Chronicle as “10 years and $10 million in environmental studies” wasted. He's even withheld public support regarding BART's $3.5 billion regional bond on the November ballot.
To that, Radulovich fires back that "Haggerty wants to determine the outcome before the study has been done” For his part, Radulovich is more invested in the $9 billion his system needs to keep running as is.
The $2.2 million awarded to Haggerty by the Metropolitan Transit Commission will go to the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority with its 12 employees and Haggerty chairs the Authority's board of directors. $660,000 of the funds will go toward hiring a consultant to lead the project for two years, and eventually, a new 12-member Alameda County-Central Valley joint authority is likely to spearhead the project, though that group has yet to be created by state legislature.
One noted transit fan who isn't buying into Haggerty's push? SF Supervisor Scott Wiener, who tells the Chronicle the plan "is putting the cart in front of the horse." Actually, Scott, this is a train — but point taken.via BART