By Noel T. Braymer
After years of planning, the Capitol Corridor hopes to soon start construction needed to extend service 68 miles south of San Jose to Salinas. It is hoped by 2018 to start with 2 round trips a day with expansion in the future to 6 round trips. As part of this extension of the Capitol Corridor, track improvements will also be needed between Oakland and San Jose. This will include double tracking of the line, new connections with BART and ACE as well as increasing the daily number of round trip trains between San Jose to Oakland from 7 round trips up to 11.
In addition to a new terminal at Salinas, there will stops at Gilroy and new stations at Castroville and Pajaro/Watsonville. Engineering and land acquisition are now underway with plans for construction to start in 2015. This extension will besides relieving some of the traffic on Highway 101 will also stimulate development in the area and improve the cost recovery for the Capitol Corridor.
Click on graphics for an enlarged view.
Graphics prepared by the Transportation Authority for Monterey County (TAMA)
Even more complicated than extended service to Salinas will be the double tracking needed between Oakland and San Jose. The following is a chart from the current Capitol Corridor Business Planned released in March 2013
The current total capital budget for the Capitol Corridor is $118.71 million dollars. The money for the construction in this budget for double tracking between San Jose and Oakland is $50.85 million dollars.This money is expected to come out of the Prop 1A money which is also for construction of High Speed Rail. But this is not enough to fully double track between San Jose and Oakland.
This graphic is of the unfunded projects for the Capitol Corridor as of March 2013. It is for over $900 million dollars of unfunded projects.Of this $313.60 million is for full double tracking between San Jose and Oakland in addition to the $50.85 million depending on Prop 1A Bond money. To build a new station on tracks next to the Union City BART Station and connection to BART with the Capitol Corridor and ACE, will cost an additional $221 million dollars out of the over $900 million of unfunded projects.
This graphic shows what is proposed to connect both Capitol Corridor and ACE corridor trains to BART at Union City. The yellow line is the BART Line. The Blue Line is the current route of the Capitol Corridor between Oakland and Fremont. The Red line is the new alignment for both the Capitol Corridor and ACE for a joint station at the existing BART Union City Station and transfer point. The Shin Connection is a proposed new track connection to the existing line from the proposed rerouted alignment next to BART. The Green Line is the route used to get to San Jose now south of Fremont now by the Capitol Corridor. One alternative was studied to use this line for double tracking and reducing running times between Oakland and San Jose. This would have bypassed Fremont and Hayward.
All of these projects are exciting and will greatly increase ridership on these trains. But an ongoing battle for funding new projects has seen reduced funding in the last few years, not more. This is part of a longer range trend which has cut back spending on infrastructure as the existing infrastructure continues to age and fall apart while transportation demands continue to grow with congestion. Economic growth needed to provide jobs in the future is also stunted by lack of funding as is efforts to transition from an oil based economy.