Proposed ACE commuter rail stop in Elk Grove could open in 3 to 4 years

During a Zoom workshop meeting held tonight hosted by the San Joaquin Regional Rail (SJRRC) Commission, participants learned more details of a proposed commuter rail stop for Elk Grove.

The new rail and service platform proposed for Elk Grove, the Altamont Commuter Express (ACE), which is part of the Valley Rail Program, has identified a site on Dwight Road in Elk Grove's Laguna West neighborhood along the Union Pacific's so-called Sacramento Subdivision track that runs through the city's west side. The stop, which will not have a staffed ticket station, will be operated by the ACE, will be part of a broader commuter network linking Elk Grove to points north and connecting to San Jose.

The Elk Grove stop, which is the last site on the proposed lengthening of the ACE system that includes new stops in Lodi, Sacramento City College, Midtown Sacramento, North Sacramento, and Natomas with connections to Sacramento International Airport. According to information presented during the meeting, all the other stops have been through environmental reviews, and the Elk Grove station was delayed because of site selection considerations.

During the workshop, the environmental review for the project, which has started with this meeting, was outlined. The draft EIR is expected to be completed later this year, and a final review will be considered by the SJRRC next spring.

Project EIR representative Amanda Durgen of LSA Associates said the focused EIR would center on four areas, including air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, transportation, and noise and vibration. A focused EIR is a narrower study compared to other environmental reviews. 

"This isn't the last opportunity; this is just the bringing of the public involvement process," Durgen said.

Should the EIR be approved, construction and other improvements would start next summer, and the facility could start operating sometime in 2024 or 2025. In addition to building the station, there are track upgrades needed to facilitate the additional trail traffic.  

Construction of the facility is provided by $1.3 billion in state and federal funds. Maintenance of the station will be the responsibility of the SJRRC.    

During a question and answer session, the six panelists answered a wide range of questions ranging from possible schedules for the commuter service to safety and security at the proposed Dwight Road stop to anticipated travel times between Elk Grove and stops. The proposed Dwight Road site will also include a parking lot with 175 to 225 spots.

Elk Grove District 2 City Councilmember Pat Hume, who has served as Elk Grove's representative on several transportation agencies, including the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority, which oversees regional rail transit projects, noted other Elk Grove sites were considered but said this was the most suitable. 

"It's close to jobs, it's close to services and commercial, close to residential," Hume said. "So the Valley Rail Project is important for connecting the larger region. These trains will run all the way down to Stockton and then either over to the East Bay or the far depths of the San Joaquin Valley." 

Also appearing during the workshop was Elk Grove District 1 City Councilmember Darren Suen, who touted the economic benefits of the commuter extension, which is near Apple's Elk Grove campus.   

"It will enable us to attract more jobs from the Silicon Valley," he said. 


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