Thursday, April 24, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Fairfield train station project fails to get key grant

peabody train tracks

A motorcycle passes over the railroad tracks at Peabody Road in Fairfield. The city failed to get a grant to build an overpass for the road at the location. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

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From page A1 | September 13, 2013 | 15 Comments

FAIRFIELD — Fairfield’s quest to get a $9 million federal grant for its planned train station has failed, raising questions about when the station and the related Peabody Road overcrossing will be built.

The project is to cost $68 million and include not only building the Fairfield-Vacaville train station, but taking Peabody Road over the railroad tracks on a bridge. The $9 million grant would have provided the final piece of funding.

Fairfield City Engineer Steven Hartwig said Thursday that the Peabody Road overpass construction and train station construction are linked, in part because of rail relocation work. He couldn’t say for certain if the overpass construction will start next summer as planned, though he didn’t rule it out.

“That’s one of the things we’re looking at, does it put it in jeopardy?” Hartwig said. “I don’t have the answer today.”

The Peabody Road overcrossing is to be one of the city’s biggest public works undertakings in recent years. It involves closing the section of Peabody Road at the railroad tracks near Vanden Road for a year, with the expected payoff of a wider road without the crossing arms that back up traffic each time a train passes.

Peabody Road is a major link between Fairfield and Vacaville and carries rush-hour traffic going to local schools, businesses and the area’s largest employer, Travis Air Force Base. Union Pacific required the overcrossing to be built before allowing a train station along its tracks.

The train station itself is to be a focal point of Fairfield’s planned train station community, which is to have more than 6,000 homes, a Main Street-like business area, an industrial area and parks. The Capitol Corridor trains are to stop at the station on their way between Sacramento and San Jose.

“We won’t build the overpass and not build the station at the same time,” Hartwig said. “We have to do the two in conjunction.”

Fairfield is looking at whether a stripped-down version of the train station – a first phase – can still go forward on schedule. A base project would include parking for the station, the rail boarding platform between the railroad tracks, an underpass to reach the platform and a plaza for buses.

Hartwig said Fairfield is also working with the Solano Transportation Authority and Metropolitan Transportation Commission to look at other funding sources for the $9 million. Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, is also involved, he said.

Fairfield for three years has tried to get a federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant, or TIGER grant, for the last piece of train station funding.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Thursday announced 52 transportation projects that will split $474 million in available TIGER grant money. Only three California projects made the grantee list: a Highway 89 railroad undercrossing in Truckee got $1.5 million, Pacific Surfliner train bridges in the San Diego area received $14 million and Fulton Mall reconstruction in Fresno got $15.9 million.

Fairfield faced stiff competition to get a piece of that available $474 million. The Department of Transportation received 585 applications from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam totaling more than $9 billion.

“I thought for sure this third time we’d get it,” Hartwig said. “That just shows you the infrastructure needs out there are tremendous.”

Fairfield wants to open the train station in late 2015 or early 2016, if it can keep the project on schedule without the TIGER grant.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or beberling@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.
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Discussion | 15 comments

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  • Next DoorSeptember 13, 2013 - 1:26 am

    did fairfield try the Safe Routes to School funding grant?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksSeptember 13, 2013 - 4:13 am

    The overpass is a good plan necessary to increase traffic mobility and should be done as soon as possible. The train station? Not so much. The homes plan? Absolutely mind numbing.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • S KSeptember 13, 2013 - 7:57 am

    I always thought that the train station was a DUMB idea, having one so close already that has been there forever in Suisun. Picture this, heading east, the train just gets up steam and then has to slow down to a stop, just a few miles down the track. And the same thing would have to occur in the other direction, DUMB>>DUMB>>DUMB. Only something that a politician could come up with!!! Fairfield has always been jealous of Suisun not having something we have. Now if they could only come up with a way to bulldoze a bunch of homes and fake a man made WATERFRONT>>LOL

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JennySeptember 13, 2013 - 7:41 pm

    The Suisun station wil be closed down when the Fairfield station is built.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • S KSeptember 13, 2013 - 7:45 pm

    I doubt that very much. Suisun would never stand for that.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JennySeptember 13, 2013 - 8:10 pm

    At the meeting Amtrak said they wont stop service to the Suisun station, but admitted that they will significantly reduce the number of stops to the station. Basically trying to maintain a relationship with Suisun until the Fairfield location is built. The plan is for the Fairfield location be the main hub. It wont make since to have a stop in Suisun anymore, the station is too small and not enough ridership.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • L.September 14, 2013 - 3:33 pm

    Really? And what will make ridership any better at Fairfield? At least in Suisun it's handy to get to, but I wouldn't go out of my way out to Peabody to take the train. Crazy.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich GiddensSeptember 13, 2013 - 8:01 am

    BIG SMILE!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • BohicaSeptember 13, 2013 - 8:30 am

    That’s right Fairfield, get ready...That Trains a comin into station…Thanks Mraz (et al) for your premature trackulation…What a JOKE…

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • No Train StationSeptember 13, 2013 - 8:41 am

    Right. Because nothing ever goes over-budget, and once they have that nine million it's all set. Just what we need: another train station. The ridership may increase slightly, but that's about it. Build a water park, or something else to sate your big-time "we're Fairfield, dammit" mentality.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • DerailedSeptember 13, 2013 - 11:48 am

    The train station is not a good idea. Why spend 68 million dollars for a station, when there is one only 10 miles away. Makes no sense...I can see revamping Peabody rd. but no need for a station or a bridge. Why not hire a few police officers and build something for the children. I guess the politicians need a train to get out of town when the criminals are out destroying the city.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • BohicaSeptember 13, 2013 - 4:05 pm

    Oh they will hire more costly Police Officers. The have too. To patrol all the area around this scaled down version of a train station.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • FDCSeptember 13, 2013 - 1:13 pm

    Maybe if the planners of this grand scheme would hire the same band of thieves involved in the Bay Bridge (soon to be named the Willie Brown Erection) to design and build the overpass bridge the funds would miraculously from from wherever all such funds come from. Overlooked in all the hullabaloo is the fact that the pore 'ol taxpayer is funding this monstrosity. If Fairfield were to get the "grant," all they would be getting is some of our own tax dollars back. Madness!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • 99.9% always rightSeptember 13, 2013 - 8:33 pm

    I've never understood how the city can expand the size of our city with this 6,000 Home project..but they're barely able to maintain our services and infrastructure that the citizens already have. I think somewhere hidden behind this project is a developer waiting to get his palms greased with his city hall connections. If this project goes thru without the Federal grant...it's because someone is calling in their chip.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • L.September 14, 2013 - 3:30 pm

    Frank Andrews and the Yarborough heirs.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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