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From Here to There: Link21 Program Development

The Program

Link21 is a multiyear, multiphase program of passenger rail projects that are made possible through partnerships with multiple agencies. 

Link21 is in an early stage of development. Early planning efforts are focused on developing a passenger rail network that best serves travelers’ needs, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and promotes economic growth, while following a robust equity program that will work to understand and incorporate the needs of all communities. The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (Capitol Corridor) are working with agency partners to solicit the public’s input on early-stage evaluations. Careful planning now will ensure value and benefits for generations to come. 

Program Timeline

Phase 0

Program Definition

Starts 2019

We are here

  • Identify Program Concepts

Phase 1

Program Identification

Starts 2022

  • Preliminary Business Case
  • Program Alternatives

Phase 2

Project(s) Selection

Starts 2024

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

Phase 3

Project(s) Delivery

Starts 2029

  • 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

Phase 0 began in 2019. BART and Capitol Corridor have started to build a robust framework for technical analyses and are laying the groundwork for transparent and inclusive decision-making. BART and Capitol Corridor are gathering the public's input on program Goals and Objectives and potential solutions. 

At the end of this phase, there will be an initial list of program concepts that will include several projects that act together to achieve the program vision and goals. 

Phase 1 begins in 2022. The program concepts will be further defined using the Link21 Business Case framework. The public will again be asked to provide significant input. Program alternatives will be identified by the end of Phase 1. 

The program alternatives will consist of multiple rail improvement projects that may be implemented by BART, Capitol Corridor, or other transportation agencies over time. 

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

Phase 2 will begin in 2024. The Link21 project alternatives will be refined. BART and Capitol Corridor — with input from partner agencies and the public — will identify and prioritize project alternatives that should be taken to the design and construction phase. Other agencies may take responsibility for delivering related project(s). 

Each project alternative will likely have numerous options. Phase 2 will include a detailed environmental analysis and identification of one or more project alternative(s) that are recommended to advance to design and construction. The public's contributions, opinions, and feedback will continue to shape and guide the project(s). 

Phase 3 will begin in 2029. Final engineering and design will be completed for the project(s). Each project will then be constructed, tested and commissioned, 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 HNTB 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 the 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 were 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, which is administered by Capitol Corridor.