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.