Passenger Rail into Stanislaus County
The San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (SJRRC) is aiming to offer more Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) passenger rail service to our communities. It is also planning to extend ACE service to the downtowns of Manteca, Modesto, Turlock, and Merced.
ACE currently operates four round-trip trains each weekday – primarily at peak commute times – from three points in San Joaquin County, through Alameda County, and into the Bay Area, helping to relieve some of the most notorious highway bottlenecks in the state. According to several studies, approximately one-fifth of Stanislaus County residents commute to jobs located at points outside of the county, and so far, nearly 16% of the ACE passenger base is made up of these commuters.
An expanded ACE in Stanislaus County would provide a better mobility alternative to the automobile that would lower greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, and further regional land use and transportation planning goals under local, regional, and state initiatives. In addition to the environmental and mobility benefits of expanded intercity rail service to downtown stations, the ACE service would support walkable communities and the revitalization of core urban areas while addressing traffic congestion issues in the Central Valley.
Approximately 48% of the ACE service is funded by fare revenue; the rest is subsidized with public support. SJRRC relies significantly on San Joaquin County’s Measure-K half-cent transportation sales tax and its ability to leverage other regional, state, and federal funding sources. Similar transportation sales tax measures in Alameda and Santa Clara Counties also contribute toward the operation of the ACE service through their regions.
Of the five public scoping forums SJRRC held along the existing and future ACE corridors, the forum held in Modesto in July 2013 was by far the most successful in terms of attendance and support for the extension. Emerging efforts to expand the transportation infrastructure in Stanislaus County is a great start in addressing the needs and lifestyle choices of those who are eager to get out of their cars and get into a stress-free alternative to driving.