The Tracy Transit Station in downtown Tracy has been earmarked to be one of four stations on this side of the Altamont Pass for the proposed cross-Altamont light rail system.

Directors of the Tri-Valley-San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority voted Wednesday to include the four stations as preferred sites in the first phase of construction of the light rail system that would connect this area to Tri-Valley stations and the Dublin-Pleasanton BART station.

Originally, plans for the project indicated on maps only one station, called “West Tracy,” in this area for the first phase of construction.

Wednesday’s action pinpoints these stations in this area in the first phase: from west to east, Mountain House Parkway and Interstate 580; downtown Tracy at the Tracy Transit Station at Sixth Street and Central Avenue; River Islands near Mossdale; and North Lathrop at an exact location yet to be determined.

North Lathrop will be a multimodal station with a shared platform to allow Altamont Corridor Express and light rail passengers to transfer between the two rail systems.

Dino Margaros, chairman of the Tracy City Center Association, said selecting the downtown location for the Tracy station over an alternative site farther west near Lammers Road was important to the continued development of downtown Tracy.

“A light rail station at the transit station will be a catalyst for launching major projects in the downtown and will also help provide a regional solution to Altamont Pass commuting issues,” he said.

Don Cose, who has been a leader in restoring historic buildings in the downtown, said that a light rail station at the transit station would provide an opening for multi-use development of the long-vacant Bowtie area.

He noted that a goal to start the light rail trains traveling over the Altamont by 2024 may seem overly optimistic for such a major transportation project, “but from what I’ve seen, the rail authority board is determined to move ahead without delays.”

Tracy Mayor Pro Tem Veronica Vargas, vice chairman of the rail authority charged with planning and building the light rail system, said that selecting the four stations in this area to be included in the first phase of construction “provides the kind of passenger access to light rail trains that will make the system work.”

“The stations at Lathrop and Greenville Road (near Livermore) are especially important, since they provide interchange of passengers between both light rail and ACE,” she said.

Securing the needed $1.8 billion in funding from a variety of sources and securing the right of way for tracks through the Tri-Valley are major hurdles to overcome, Vargas acknowledged, but she said: “We are committed to creating a light rail system that improves lives on both sides of the Altamont Pass It’s that important.”

Contact Sam Matthews at shm@tracypress.com or 830-4234.

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