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From Here to There: Link21 Program Development

The Program

Link21 is a multiyear, multiphase program to create an integrated rail network for Northern California.  

Link21 is currently in an early stage of development. In this phase, BART and Capitol Corridor are building a robust framework for technical analyses and laying the groundwork for transparent and inclusive decision-making. BART and Capitol Corridor are soliciting the public's input on these early-stage evaluations.  

At the end of this early stage, there will be an initial list of program alternatives. The Link21 program alternatives will include several projects that act together to achieve the program vision and goals.  

In Phase 1, beginning in 2021, the Link21 program alternatives will be further studied. The public will again be asked to provide significant input. A preferred program alternative will be identified by the end of Phase 1.  

The preferred program alternative will be made up of one or more projects. Other projects may be planned or implemented by other transportation agencies.  

One of the projects within the Link21 Program will be a new rail crossing between Oakland and San Francisco. For decades, transportation planners have identified the need for a new crossing to best streamline and integrate Northern California's rail network and to provide resiliency and redundancy to the existing rail service.  

In Phase 2, beginning in 2024, the projects will be refined. BART and Capitol Corridor — with the public's input — will determine which preferred project(s) will carry forward to full design and construction. Other agencies may take responsibility for delivering related project(s).

A detailed environmental analysis of the preferred project(s) will also be performed in Phase 2. The public's contributions, opinions, and feedback will continue to shape and guide the project(s). 

In Phase 3, beginning in 2028, final engineering design and construction packages will be developed. Each preferred project will then be constructed, tested, and made ready for service.   

All phases are dependent on available funding. BART and Capitol Corridor will continue to identify funding sources and work to secure the support and funding needed to bring the full Link21 vision to reality.  

Contracts & Funding

In June 2019, the BART Board of Directors authorized a contract with the HNTB Corporation to advance the Link21 Program (formerly called the New Transbay Rail Crossing Program). These services are integrated with BART and Capitol Corridor’s expertise.

The Link21 Team provides program management and strategic advising services, including analyses of future travel markets, advancement of equity, and study of land use and transportation possibilities, network functionality, and project delivery methods and governance.

BART recently advertised for engagement and outreach, travel demand and land use modeling, planning and engineering, and environmental services to support the Link21 Program under the direction of the Program Management Team. Contracts for these services are expected to be authorized by the BART Board in Spring 2021.

BART has allocated $110 million from its Measure RR bond, approved by voters in 2016, towards project planning. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) has also earmarked $50 million from Regional Measure 3 for the project. The California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) provides approximately $1 million annually, administered by Capitol Corridor.

Program Timeline

Phase 0

Program Definition

Starts 2019

We are here

  • List of Program Alternatives

Phase 1

Program Identification

Starts 2021

  • Preliminary Business Case
  • Preferred Program Alternative

Phase 2

Project(s) Selection

Starts 2024

  • Intermediate Business Case
  • Preferred Project Alternative(s)
  • Final Business Case and Implementation Strategy

Phase 3

Project(s) Delivery

Starts 2028

  • Design
  • Construction
  • Testing and Commissioning



(One or more projects may be ready for service before 2040)

*CEQA NOD = California Environmental Quality Act Notice of Determination / NEPA ROD = National Environmental Policy Act Record of Decision