New Transbay Rail Crossing (Link21)

Train traffic Rockridge

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, every day, more than three-quarters of a million people traveled the existing transbay corridor between San Francisco and the East Bay on BART and by car and ferry.

While we don't know what transit in Northern California or the Bay Area will look like in the future, we do know that, despite this time of challenge and change, BART must continue to plan longer-range projects that bring benefits to the region.

Experts have recognized the need for a new transbay crossing for decades. BART and the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) have partnered to advance Link21 (formerly known as New Transbay Rail Crossing), a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will create benefits for generations to come.

New Transbay Rail Crossing webinar

(Click on the image above to see a Link21 webinar hosted on July 14, 2020)

Crossing the Bay Links the Region

The Northern California megaregion, consisting of the 21 counties between Monterey, San Francisco, Sacramento and the northern San Joaquin Valley, is the 16th largest economy in the world. The Bay Area and much of the Sacramento and Central Valley regions increasingly operate as an interconnected megaregion, with commerce and commutes crossing county lines.BART and CCJPA are studying the future rail investments needed to better connect places and people throughout the Northern California megaregion. Link21 is a megaregional transit improvement program focused on connecting the region’s transit systems.

At the core of the Link21 program is a new San Francisco Bay rail crossing for BART and regional rail (the Capitol Corridor, the San Joaquins and Caltrain, for example). Link21 will serve two main purposes:

  • Double BART’s transbay capacity so that overcrowding is reduced and future ridership – which is expected to double by 2050 – can be accommodated.
  • Create a brand-new link for regional rail so that travelers can enjoy direct train trips between many Northern California locations.

BART and CCJPA are fully committed to integrating equity into all aspects of the program. Equity is built into the program’s goals and objectives and will continue to be fostered as the project proceeds.

Contracts and Funding

The BART Board of Directors in June 2019 approved a $50 million contract with the HNTB team to provide Strategic Advising and Program Management Services on advancing the effort. Planning will include analyses of future travel markets, study of integrated land use and transportation futures, network functionality, equity issues, project delivery methods and governance. A future contract will focus on evaluation of alternative projects. 

BART has put $110 million toward project planning from its Measure RR bond, which was approved by voters in 2016. Roughly $50 million in Metropolitan Transportation Commission-managed Regional Measure 3 funds is also committed, in addition to $1 million annually from the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority.

July 2020 BART Board Presentation

The BART Board of Directors were given an update on the Link21 Program on July 23, 2020.

View the presentation.

Program Vision:

Link21 will transform the passenger rail network in the Northern California Megaregion into a faster, more integrated system that provides a safe, efficient, equitable, and affordable means of travel for all types of trips.

This Program, including a new rail connection between Oakland and San Francisco, will make rail and transit the mode of choice for trips throughout the megaregion.

Goals and Objectives:

Transform the Passenger Experience

  • Provide better service
  • Improve reliability and system performance
  • Build ridership and mode share

Enhance Community and Livability

  • Connect people and places
  • Improve safety, health and air quality
  • Advance equity

Support Economic Growth and Global Competitiveness

  • Improve access to opportunity and employment
  • Connect major economic, research and education centers
  • Enable transit-supportive land use

Advance Environmental Stewardship and Protection

  • Increase climate change resilience
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Conserve resources