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Pleasanton council to hear update on BART to Livermore

Midyear budget changes, Emergency Operations Plan update also on tap

Pleasanton City Council members are set to receive an update Tuesday on the BART to Livermore project and consider whether to offer their support to a traditional BART rail extension down the Interstate 580 corridor rather than the other alternatives on the table.

One of the most significant traffic relief projects proposed for the Tri-Valley, expanding BART beyond the eastern Dublin-Pleasanton station has been under consideration for years. The potential project got a boost last summer when BART completed its draft environmental impact report (EIR).

The agency is on track to release its final EIR this spring, and BART officials are visiting Tri-Valley councils to receive input on the proposal.

"In general, the goal of the Bart to Livermore Extension Project is to improve the region's transit network to better serve the greater Bay Area," community development director Gerry Beaudin said in staff report to the council.

"The project would reduce travel times and improve service reliability, thus increasing BART ridership from this part of the region, and ultimately reducing traffic congestion and vehicle miles traveled within the Tri-Valley," Beaudin added.

The base proposal outlines traditional BART rail down the I-580 median to a new station near the Isabel Avenue intersection, estimated at more than $1.6 billion. But EIR also looks at alternative scenarios including a light rail station at Isabel or new Express Bus services between Livermore and the eastern Dublin-Pleasanton BART station.

The lead rail alternatives being considered are diesel multiple unit (DMU) or electrical multiple unit (EMU), known colloquially as light rail. They are smaller, self-propelled cars with a diesel or electric engine, respectively.

The Express Bus/Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) would include significant capital improvements like transfer platforms or freeway-to-BART ramps, but would not feature any rail extension beyond Dublin-Pleasanton.

And the enhanced bus would add bus routes and other minor changes but no major bus infrastructure overhaul.

The BART Board of Directors has not decided what its preferred option would be, but a vote could come down next month. Beaudin said city staff is encouraging the council to support the traditional BART rail extension to Isabel and provide comments on the preferred design Tuesday night.

Conventional BART rail would offer the most ridership, but it also features a high pricetag, estimated at $1.63 billion -- compared to $1.6 billion for DMU, $1.67 billion for EMU, $380 million for Express Bus and $25 million for enhanced bus.

The BART board has until June 30 to select its preferred project option. Otherwise, the newly formed Tri-Valley-San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority will make the selection.

The new authority is tasked solely with delivering improved connectivity between BART and the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) train, including taking over construction of a BART extension to Livermore. It is overseen by a regional board with 15 representatives, including officials from Tri-Valley and west San Joaquin cities, both counties and BART.

The BART board is currently expected to announce a preliminary choice for preferred project alternative in April and then review and certify the final EIR and confirm the final project option in May, according to Beaudin.

The BART to Livermore discussion is the lead item on Tuesday night's open-session agenda, which is scheduled to get underway at 7 p.m. inside the council chamber at 200 Old Bernal Ave.

In other business

* The council will consider approving staff-recommended midyear budget adjustments.

City officials anticipate 2017-18 general fund revenues will be $2.8 higher than originally estimated and expenditures will increase by $1.3 million. All told, that would leave the budget with an estimated surplus of just under $2.2 million when the fiscal year ends in June.

* Council members will discuss approving the latest update to the city's Emergency Operations Plan.

* They will also consider a 12-item consent calendar, which includes a nearly $490,000 contract with AECOM Technical Services to design the I-680/Sunol Boulevard interchange improvements, final adoption of an ordinance to extend the Stoneridge Shopping Center development agreement and approval of the Housing Element and growth management annual progress report.

The consent calendar is a collection of items deemed routine and voted upon all at once unless pulled for separate consideration.

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