FTA partners with Bay Area transit company to extend commuter rail

May 23, 2024

California’s Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) has received $3.4 billion in federal funds for a rail project that will connect 11 stations in and around San Francisco and will eventually integrate into a planned high-speed rail system that spans the Golden State.

The Federal Transit Authority’s Capital Investment Grants (CIG) is providing the bulk of the funds for the Downtown Rail Extension project, also known as The Portal. Another $500 million from the proposed federal FY25 budget will cover two-thirds of the project’s total cost, officials said.

CIG is a discretionary grant program that funds transit projects, including commuter rails such as the Portal – one of 18 projects nationwide in the New Starts program, which funds projects or extensions to existing rail systems costing $300 million or more.

New Starts projects must complete an environmental review process, secure all external funding commitments and finalize engineering and design plans before beginning construction.

The Portal would extend Caltrain to the Salesforce Transit Center in downtown San Francisco and integrate the California High-Speed Rail, connecting 11 Bay Area transit systems. Once completed, the Portal is expected to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and serve an estimated 90,000 daily riders.

“This funding represents a huge leap toward the vibrant transportation system San Francisco needs to thrive in the coming years,” California Sen. Scott Wiener said in a statement. “By connecting downtown San Francisco with the broader region and the state, this project will help secure a future of prosperity and progress on our climate goals.”

The project has completed environmental reviews, receiving a medium-high rating, moving it from the project design phase to the engineering phase. TJPA is working to secure additional funds from local, regional and state sources before receiving the FTA’s full funding grant agreement.

The Portal has an estimated revenue service date of 2032 if final FTA approval is granted by 2025.

Photo courtesy of TJPA

Gracie Warhurst

Gracie Warhurst has joined Strategic Partnerships, Inc. as a writer and digital content creator for the new Government Market News portal. With a rich background in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, Warhurst has experience as editor-in-chief of a literary magazine, assistant web editor, and project manager for an AI journalism project. She also contributed as a reporter during the development of SPI's news portal. Warhurst graduated summa cum laude in December 2023 with a Bachelor's in Journalism and a certificate in creative writing, making her a valuable asset to the SPI team.

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