April 13, 2011 11:44am
• Would help pay for dedicated commuter tracks
• ‘An important part of improving both our area’s economic future and our quality of life’
The only commuter train that connects the Central Valley with the Silicon Valley would be upgraded to its own set of tracks under a bill introduced in Congress Wednesday by Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton.
Currently the Altamont Commuter Express has days when its name seems ironic, as its passenger trains are stuck behind slow-moving Union Pacific freight trains. ACE leases track time from UP, which gives its own freight trains and Amtrak priority.
H.R. 1504, the legislation introduced by Mr. McNerney, authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to provide up to $450 million in grants over the next decade for preliminary engineering, final design and construction of the Altamont Corridor Rail Project, which would build an 85-mile rail system for the passenger trains connecting Stockton and other Central Valley cities to San Jose and other points in the South Bay.
With its own tracks, ACE has the potential to carry 35,000 people each way once completed and could cut commute time between Stockton and San Jose in half.
“The Altamont Corridor Rail Project is an important part of improving both our area’s economic future and our quality of life,” says Mr. McNerney. “This project will create jobs, provide a significantly faster way to travel between the Central Valley and the Bay Area, and reduce traffic on busy highways. It’s a good investment for our entire region.”
“This project is vitally important to our region and for Northern California in general,” says Brent Ives, mayor of Tracy and a commissioner for the San Joaquin County Regional Rail Commission.
H.R. 1504 is expected to be referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure for further consideration.
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