With the help of state funding, Elk Grove is moving forward with a plan to open a passenger station in 2024.
Funding from the state and Senate Bill (SB) 1 – the Highway Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 – will soon be used to support transportation improvements in the Elk Grove area, including the local station. These projects are supported by the $700 million state funding package recently released by the California Transportation Commission.
The largest of these allocations for the Elk Grove area is $11.1 million for the Elk Grove Passenger Station.
The station will be built just north of Laguna Boulevard near Dwight Road in the Laguna West area as part of a project to provide passenger rail service between Sacramento and Stockton. It will include elevators, parking and public transport links.
The San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (JPA) and the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission are partners in the Valley Rail Sacramento Expansion Project.
This project will expand Amtrak San Joaquin and ACE passenger rail services, which include additional associated stations.
David Lipari, JPA San Joaquin’s marketing director, told the Citizen that the Elk Grove station is slated to open in 2024.
“We expect service in late 2024,” he said. “So building Elk Grove from 2023 means it will be built and ready for service when it begins in 2024.”
He noted that the Elk Grove station project took a different path to completion than the other stations in this expansion program.
“As we neared the end of this (environmental) process, it was determined that the (original, Cosumnes River Boulevard off Interstate 5) location selected in this (environmental impact report) was not not be an optimal location for the Elk Grove community,” Lipari said. “So Elk Grove went through a separate environmental process (which was completed) in early April.”
The selected site off Laguna Boulevard has been environmentally cleared for construction of the new station, he added.
Lipari said the state funding allocation of $11.1 million will be used to finalize the design of the Elk Grove station, as well as to cover some right-of-way costs for that station.
The overall cost of the Elk Grove station, from design to construction, will be $42 million, Lipari noted.
“This includes track work in and around the area to prepare the site for passenger service,” he said.
He also mentioned that the project received a total of $505 million for passenger rail extensions from Stockton to the Natomas area in Sacramento. These extensions include Elk Grove.
Lipari emphasized the importance of this rail expansion project for Elk Grove.
“(This city) has long wanted to have a station for the San Joaquin, but now (it) kind of gets the best of both worlds by getting a station that serves both ACE and the San Joaquin,” he said. he declares.
The opening of Elk Grove Station will mark the return of passenger rail service to Elk Grove after a long absence.
According to a Historical Background Statement and Investigative Report, prepared for the Town of Elk Grove by Page & Turnbull in 2012, passenger rail service at the old Elk Grove Station continued until 1949, followed by the end of freight service at this station in 1972.
The old station, which was demolished in 1972, was located in the area of what is now Old Town Plaza at the corner of Elk Grove Boulevard and Railroad Street.
Other local transportation projects receive state funding
$1.6 million in public funding is allocated for a project to build two southbound auxiliary lanes, a median concrete barrier and a storage lane extension on Highway 99 at the south exit from Elk Grove Blvd.
This project also includes the upgrade of five access meter systems from Elk Grove Boulevard to south of Calvine Road.
Kristin Parsons, assistant director of public works for the city of Elk Grove, told the Citizen that the $1.6 million was allocated to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for this project.
Parson also spoke about the importance of this project, which is being designed and built by Caltrans.
“(This project) will support the city’s congestion management plan,” she said. “This will allow our traffic division to improve timing changes on Elk Grove Boulevard, which will also help reduce congestion along the Elk Grove Boulevard corridor.
“All of this will come into play with many other congestion management improvements the city is working on, and will give us additional flexibility there.”
Angela DaPrato, spokesperson for Caltrans, District 3, noted that the total estimated cost of this project is $25.2 million and that this effort is “not an SB 1 project.”
Construction on this project is expected to begin in the spring of 2024 and end in the winter of 2025, DaPrato noted.
Elk Grove is also benefiting from recently allocated state funding of $504,000 to construct a Class I pedestrian and bicycle crossing for the Laguna Creek Interregional Trail on Highway 99 between Sheldon Road and Bond. Road / Laguna Blvd.
Parsons spoke about the project and its recent funding allocation.
“(The) total cost of the project is approximately $10.9 million, and (the) $504,000 is the first grant the city has received,” she said. “The overall project will construct a new Class I cycleway crossing at (Highway) 99, it will connect the trails on the east side of (Highway) 99, the trails along West Stockton (Boulevard) on the west side of (the highway) 99.
“And right now, (Highway) 99 divides our city. It divides the town of Elk Grove, and is the largest barrier connecting the east and west sides of our town along the Laguna Creek Interregional Trail System. Removing this barrier will connect the two sides.