OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — The BART board of directors rejected the proposed 5.5-mile extension of the Dublin-Pleasanton line into Livermore at a meeting at Oakland headquarters Thursday night.
The proposed extension, would run along Interstate 580 to a new station near the Isabel Avenue interchange; a lifeline for commuters moving farther out into the suburbs.
But some say a much cheaper bus shuttle would be a better fit. The debate may boil down to whether use money to improve BART service or expand the system.
“We have been working to bring five miles of BART [to Livermore] for 40 years,” said Livermore Mayor John Marchand. “It’s time.”
Marchand says a Livermore BART station would strengthen the economy and benefit the entire region, because it would connect the workforce from as far away as the San Joaquin Valley to San Francisco.
“Reducing vehicle miles traveled, reducing greenhouse gases, getting people off the road and getting people into transit,” said Marchand.
I-580 in the Dublin-Livermore area is jammed up every day, filled with super commuters driving in from places like Tracy, Stockton and Modesto.
“We live in Modesto,” said BART passenger Roseanna Aceves. “If they were to build one in Livermore, it’d be a lot closer, less of a commute to drive all the way to Dublin.
“This is a tech community. A lot of us work out in the city,” said Livermore resident Keith Turnage. “So it’d be great to get on a train and get right to our location.”
But at least one BART director is against the idea. Director Nick Josefowitz says they would have to increase taxes and fares to come up with the $1.6 billion to extend BART five and a half miles to Isabel Ave in Livermore.
He’s proposing a much cheaper option, an express bus service that would take BART passengers from Livermore to the Dublin – Pleasanton station.
But people in Livermore say it’s conventional BART or nothing. “If the freeway isn’t moving, the bus isn’t going anywhere,” said Marchand.
Also, some opponents of the Livermore extension argue instead of spending so much money to expand BART, the agency should use the funds to improve capacity and efficency.
But many Tri-Valley residents say BART to Livermore is long overdue.
“There should be a happy medium,” offered Dublin resident Daryl Harper. “Some money for expansion and some money for cleaning it up.”