Link21 and its Partners Will Connect Northern California
The Link21 Program and its partner agencies aim to connect the BART and Regional Rail (including commuter, intercity, and high-speed rail) network in Northern California, as envisioned by the California State Rail Plan. The Program’s main goal is to transform the passenger rail network serving the 21-county Northern California Megaregion, which includes the greater San Francisco Bay Area, the Monterey Bay area, the Sacramento area, and the Northern San Joaquin Valley.
Link21 will result in a more efficient, affordable, and sustainable passenger rail network. The Program will make it more convenient for people to take BART and Regional Rail, encouraging more rail travel in the Megaregion. A better rail system will improve the quality of life for residents and visitors alike. Link21 will enable passenger rail that will be:
Link21 is sponsored by BART and Capitol Corridor with support from the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) and other partners.
During the Link21 program development process, BART and Capitol Corridor will work with its partners to identify and prioritize projects that are needed to create a connected passenger rail network.
Link21 Will Include a New Transbay Passenger Rail Crossing Between Oakland and San Francisco
For decades, transportation leaders have recognized the need for a new passenger rail crossing between Oakland and San Francisco. The 2018 State Rail Plan and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s (MTC) 2019 Horizon initiative include a new transbay passenger rail crossing in its vision for a more connected passenger rail network in Northern California.1, 2
The existing transbay corridor includes BART, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, buses, and ferry service and is one of the most congested transit routes in the United States. What could be a 15-minute journey can easily turn into an hour or more due to traffic or transit disruptions.
Link21 is planning a new transbay passenger rail connection between Oakland and San Francisco. Travelers will be able to ride comfortably between the Sacramento Area and downtown San Francisco, the Northern San Joaquin Valley, the Peninsula, and the South Bay. Regional Rail riders with destinations across the Bay may be able to take a direct rail connection without transferring to a different service.
Watch experts talk about the benefits of Link21 or read a report on how the new transbay rail crossing will be a game changer for Northern California.
1California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), California State Rail Plan, 2018
2MTC, Horizon, 2019
The New Transbay Rail Crossing is critically important for the future of the Northern California Megaregion. It will literally transform the entire megaregional transportation network. I try not to use the phrase ‘game-changer,’ but that’s exactly what it is. A game-changer.
Why Link21 and Why Now?
Northern California's population is projected to reach 16 million by 2050. Travel demands across the Megaregion are expected to increase sharply in the coming decades. Without improving our public transportation system, traffic congestion and overcrowding will worsen, pollution will reduce air quality, transit will be strained, and economic stagnancy will diminish our quality of life.
The benefits of Link21 extend far beyond the San Francisco Bay Area and will benefit generations to come. Link21 will facilitate new connections and open up more possibilities for business and leisure travelers across Northern California.