Solano County

Train station project now tops $81.5M

By From page A6 | March 05, 2014

FAIRFIELD — Costs for a Fairfield-Vacaville train station that is to be the centerpiece in Fairfield’s next growth area continue to increase, with the latest estimate at $81.5 million.

The project includes building a station at Vanden and Peabody roads and building a bridge to take Peabody Road over railroad tracks. Major construction is to begin in summer 2015. The station will be a stop for Capitol Corridor trains that travel between the Sacramento area and Bay Area.

A city estimate from fall 2013 put the project at $68 million, with a $9 million gap. Fairfield had hoped to cover the gap with a federal grant, but failed to secure it.

But a new Solano Transportation Authority report says the train station project will cost $81.5 million. Reasons for the price difference seem to be both how many phases of the project are considered and rising costs.

Fairfield Public Works Director George Hicks said the city is looking at both a core project and additional phases. The $81.5 million figure is for the entire project.

That full project includes the Peabody Road overpass, track relocations, a tunnel under the tracks to a central boarding platform, a train station building and a solar array over a parking structure.

Fairfield can build a core project with a train stop for the Capitol Corridor trains and the Peabody Road overpass – but not the station building or solar array – for about $73 million, Hicks said. Of that amount, $9 million is still needed, he said.

Still, even $73 million for a core project is higher than the $68 million estimate from fall 2013 or the $65.2 million estimate from summer 2013, much less the $54 million estimate from 2012 or $40 million estimate from 2007.

Among other things, the city must pay Union Pacific for track relocations. Union Pacific owns the tracks and is doing the work. Hicks said the cost will be about $10 million.

Money for the project is coming from a variety of sources. One source the city is counting on is a $12 million loan from the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank. The loan is so money to be collected by development fees in the area in coming years is available now.

“We have a high assurance it will be funded,” Hicks said.

But the loan hasn’t been wrapped up yet. If it should for some reason not become a reality, the funding gap for the core project would be $21 million instead of $9 million.

The Solano Transportation Authority is looking at making $9.3 million available in case the $12 million loan doesn’t come about. The money would otherwise go to the Jepson Parkway project to create a better connector road to link Vacaville, Fairfield and Suisun City. The Solano Transportation Authority board of directors must approve the move.

Even with the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank loan, the $9 million gap remains for the core project. Fairfield and the Solano Transportation Authority will try to get money from the state’s Proposition 1B transportation bond or a federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant.

If the loan comes about as expected but attempts to fill the $9 million gap don’t succeed, the $9.3 million targeted for the Jepson Parkway might be available as a fallback for the gap.

“This is going to be the backstop funding,” Solano Transportation Authority Executive Director Daryl Halls said.

Hicks said the train stop is to open in 2017.

“It’s been a decade of work to get to get to this point,” Hicks said. “We want to get it delivered.”

The Fairfield-Vacaville train station is to be an anchor for the city’s northeast growth area. Plans call for about 6,000 residences, a Main Street-style business area and industrial area to be built there in coming decades.

Solano County’s lone Capitol Corridor train stop for now remains the Suisun-Fairfield station on Main Street in downtown Suisun City. Trains have stopped there since the late 1860s.

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 | 27 comments

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  • Rich GiddensMarch 03, 2014 - 1:56 pm

    Sounds to me like the taxpayers are getting railroaded again with all of the cost overruns associated with a project and scheme the voters don't want!

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  • JanetMarch 05, 2014 - 10:24 am

    Why so close to the Suisun station? What happened to the Dixon train station that was already started, then stopped?

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  • LilMarch 03, 2014 - 5:48 pm

    Who is benefiting from this? Certainly not the citizens of the city and county. $81 million dollars to build a train station that is not needed?

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  • L.March 04, 2014 - 4:37 am

    Andrews, Biggs, Spering, Premier Commercial, etc.

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  • FredMarch 04, 2014 - 4:42 pm

    Isn't Premier Commercial connected to the Hofmann Co.?

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  • L.March 04, 2014 - 4:39 am

    Or we could just use our perfectly good depot in Suisun for our already sunk costs. Yikes.

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  • FredMarch 04, 2014 - 5:56 am

    Coming to a stain near you, Cost overruns. Who didn't see this coming...Way to go Mraz, Moy, et al...Fairfields leaders at there finest...Break out the KY Fairfield, I see a train a comin...

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  • FredMarch 04, 2014 - 5:59 am

    My Bad..."Station" not "Stain"...Hmmm, but then...

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  • CD BrooksMarch 04, 2014 - 6:31 am

    This is California, let's face the facts. Cost overruns and environmental issues will lengthen the time and increase the expense for this project. There is no majority approving of this and don't forget the plan is to close the road for the duration. People familiar with the traffic and certainly those that travel Peabody Rd would love the over-pass, but the homes and train station? Not so much.

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  • Rich GiddensMarch 04, 2014 - 6:54 am

    You certainly know how to make excuses for California's horrible reputation, shortcomings along with it's never ending mission, moral and budget failures, don't you?

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  • TDMMarch 05, 2014 - 4:46 pm

    If you'd actually take your meds and focus,Rich, you'd see that you two are talking about the same thing. He's just nicer about it than you.

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  • S KMarch 04, 2014 - 7:03 am

    Woo Woo, the train is coming, the train is coming. Great (The MOST STUPID IDEA), let's make the train that just left Suisun gaining speed, slow back down just a couple or so miles down the track AGAIN. This could only of been thought up by M_ROOOOOOOOOOOONs :-)

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  • T. RaynezbahdMarch 04, 2014 - 9:07 am

    And the cost will continue to go up. A lot. Good job, Fairfield. You're moving up in the world and someday you will have a little train station of your own. Then it's only a matter of time before you offer Suisun a million or so bucks to close their train station in order to lower your final costs on the project. Suisun will abide, and both cities will live happily ever after. In lameness.

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  • S KMarch 04, 2014 - 9:22 am

    Suisun would be stupidly foolish if they caved to Fairfield in such a way. After all we caved to Fairfield in letting them have so much more crime activity>>LOL. Never the Step child to Fairfield IMO. Let them have a view of I-80 while we have the waterfront :-)

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  • Mr. PracticalMarch 04, 2014 - 6:23 pm

    SK, Suisun has no say in the matter.

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  • Mr. AdamsMarch 04, 2014 - 9:31 am

    Dude, you are funny, and right on

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  • T. RaynezbahdMarch 04, 2014 - 9:11 am

    Also, when all is said and done, be sure to build about half as many parking spots as will be needed. Then make sure that the connecting buses stop running by 7:00 p.m. or so. This way folks will not be able to take the train because they cannot park, or take the bus. But at least you will have some cookiecutter apartments they can move into, that is, if they do not mind listening to trains go by, and stuff.

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  • Suisun1March 04, 2014 - 10:57 am

    I hear a lot of complaining and not enough public ORGANIZED resistance. Are there groups or key contacts who have already gone on records against this horrible idea??? Why invest in a token train station when you can invest in existing bus lines and the Suisun train station? Is the goal for developers and politicians to line their pockets, or to save precious resources and use them for REAL good like HEALTH, EDUCATION and COMMUNITY WELLNESS.

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  • CD BrooksMarch 04, 2014 - 12:09 pm

    Suisun1, I wouldn't argue that "HEALTH, EDUCATION and COMMUNITY WELLNESS" are very important issues. But transportation funding has to go with transportation issues. A larger parking footprint whether it's adding to the garage and/or buying property for that use would increase ridership. The funds for that train station would probably be more than adequate to get that done and provide much needed security and if necessary, shuttle services. Too bad it won't happen that way.

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  • SobreakitdownformeMarch 05, 2014 - 3:15 pm

    The citizens need to be more proactive against our government when we dont agree with the direction they are taking us. Who do we talk to about stopping the train station project. What process needs to be taken to have the citizens voice be louder than the members of the city councils vote. They may have been temporarily elected to a seat on the government but they dont dictate what does or doesnt happen.

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  • Anwer4UMarch 05, 2014 - 3:18 pm

    Go to the Solano Transportation Authority Board Meeting on March 12th. It is made up of the mayors of each of the cities and approves regionally significant projects such as this. If you go, especially with a couple of people, then you will definitely be heard.

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  • Mr. PracticalMarch 05, 2014 - 5:46 pm

    Actually, elected officials do dictate what happens. That's why they were elected. If you're trying to impact this project you're probably way too late to the party. If I were you, I would contact one of the Council members close to the project and hear their side of the story.

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  • S KMarch 05, 2014 - 6:01 pm

    If anything the thing that will affect it the most will be the ever increasing cost over runs/exorbitant cost. And when the local politicals realize that this is going to affect their political careers, what is left of it after this waste of money, they might kill it on their own!!!

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  • FredMarch 05, 2014 - 10:38 pm

    And we will end up with yet another vacant lot with a sign in it thanks to our city council & this even without a RDA...Keep up the good work Moy & Mraz et al...Spend Spend Spend Tax Tax Tax...

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  • S KMarch 05, 2014 - 11:09 pm

    Just remember the next election to not VOTE VOTE VOTE for THEM THEM THEM.

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  • Bob JarvisMarch 08, 2014 - 8:45 pm

    When this deal came up in 2007 I didn't think $40 million would be enough for all concerned to get a big enough slice of the pie. I estimate we'll see $150 million dished out before the train stops at this desperately need transportation hub conveniently located near the soda can recycling facility. Hey! Maybe that 70 mph Bullet train will make the first stop here in Fairfield if we'll just vote in a couple of more billion or so.

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  • George Guynn, JrMarch 10, 2014 - 11:27 am

    I like SK and Bob Jarvis's last comments. Don't vote for them and the costs are out of control!!!!! What a waste of money the Fairfield Train Station has become!!!!!

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