State could give $11M for train station

By From page A1 | May 21, 2014


FAIRFIELD — Fairfield is close to wrapping up money needed to start major work on the Fairfield-Vacaville train station and related Peabody Road overpass in summer 2015.

The California Transportation Commission meets Wednesday in San Diego. It will decide whether to allot $11 million toward the project from Proposition 1B, the $19.9 billion transportation bond passed by voters statewide in 2006.

Getting the $11 million Proposition 1B money would provide a major funding piece needed for the first phase of a train station project, estimated to cost $68 million to $71.8 million.

This base project includes building a bridge to take Peabody Road over the railroad tracks near Vanden Road. Then traffic could move along busy Peabody Road without stopping for crossing arms every time a train passes by.

The base project also includes building a train stop nearby, with an 800-foot boarding platform between tracks that could be reached by a tunnel. By 2017, Capitol Corridor trains could be picking up passengers at the stop for trips to Sacramento and to the Bay Area.

More would remain to be built. The entire Fairfield-Vacaville train station project is to cost an estimated $81.5 million and also include a train station building and solar array. But the base project would be enough to establish a train stop, with the building and solar array to come another day.

Solano Transportation Authority Executive Director Daryl Halls will be in San Diego on Wednesday for the California Transportation Commission meeting. He said commission staff has recommended in favor of the train station funding and some commissioners have said they support the funding request. Still, Halls plans to be on hand to answer any questions.

“Until they vote on it, you just don’t know,” Halls said.

Getting the final pieces of funding for the train station base project has proven a challenge. Fairfield for three years competed unsuccessfully for a federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recover grant and planned to do so again this year for $11 million.

Instead, local transportation officials decided to try to get the Proposition 1B money. The Bay Area has a large number of TIGER grant requests and new rules would force Fairfield to compete with nationwide applications in an urban instead of rural category, a Solano Transportation Authority report said.

Meanwhile, a major piece of funding that city officials thought fairly secure evaporated. Fairfield had intended to take out a $12 million loan from the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank, with the repayment to come from developer fees. But the city recently learned the bank turned the request down.

That left Fairfield and the Solano Transportation Authority scrambling to find replacement money. They have worked to transfer money from the future Fairfield Transportation Center and Vacaville Transportation Center projects and future bus replacements. It’s a complicated swap of funds and future repayments.

Now, finally, the two agencies think they have the winning formula for the train station.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] 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.

Discussion | 9 comments

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  • BobMay 21, 2014 - 5:38 am

    The state throws in 11 mill where does the 71 million needed to finish come from? How can we afford this?

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  • The MisterMay 21, 2014 - 5:52 am

    So the value of Spering's adjacent property just went up by how much? If it walks like corruption and quacks like corruption... maybe it really is corruption.

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  • B JMay 21, 2014 - 11:59 am

    I assuming they will get the rest from grants. In the mean time i heard they will be widening Vanden rd on completion of the train station. So the outcome of it all sounds good till you get stuck in traffic on peabody.

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  • CD BrooksMay 21, 2014 - 12:13 pm

    B J, the overpass on Peabody should have been completed by now it is a necessary component to travel out there. The train station and homes are an undesirable component that most citizens don't want or need. With this station and these homes combined with the Green Valley project, we are using up precious resources and spreading an all ready uncontrollable city to an even more dangerous place. This is just piss-poor planning.

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  • B JMay 22, 2014 - 1:31 am

    C d I agree with you on the piss management part . He'll I remember being stationed at travis back in the the late 80's and the traffic to me wasn't this bad but then again I lived on base and didn't have to worry about it but now I do and it suck's big time. I'll be glad when they do get that station done cause i won't have to worry about puncher ing a tired like i have a few week ago going over that freaking metal grate they have on the road.

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  • HuckleberryMay 21, 2014 - 5:19 pm

    Karen McMillian wrote an interesting opinion in the Vacaville Reporter on Tuesday. She said Spering influenced contracts given to companies that donated money to his reelection campaigns and these same companies own land that will be a part of or close to the train station. I couldn't find how much Spering makes but I bet if one had access to his financials he not only has helped Suisun and Solano County but helped himself. I believe all incumbents should be voted out. Even if you don't like the people running, I think they should have an opportunity to do something different. BTW what they get paid is outrageous considering the high unemployeement.

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  • Spering went to do good.....May 21, 2014 - 6:16 pm

    Now he wants to serve so he can do well!

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  • SteveMay 21, 2014 - 8:03 pm

    If anyone believes Jim Spering violated any laws or acted improperly in regards to this project, please speak up. These projects will provide jobs, housing choices and public facilities. The train station project, and the Green Valley project have both been nominated for planning awards. The Green Valley project has been cited by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal as one of the best examples of preserving agriculture on the urban edge in the country. CD, I usually respect your opinions but in these cases you are dead wrong.

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  • CD BrooksMay 21, 2014 - 10:58 pm

    Steve, I never mentioned Spering or anything about his business. My concern is resources and lacking ability to provide safety and enforcement. No I am not wrong, and all the awards in the world aren't going to help protect our community.

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