Why Altamont #1? - The Cities
The creation of a high speed rail system for the state brings a new level of mobility to everyone. The greater the number of cities that can be served by the system, the greater the usefulness of the system. While there will be express trains from the Bay Area to Los Angeles, there will also be local trains serving all the major cities along the line.
If either the Pacheco Pass or Diablo alternaives are selected, no city in the valley north of Merced will be included in the first phase of construction. Additionally, Merced, home of the newest UC campus, only gets service in the initial system if the Diablo alignmment is chosen, and only because the system is diverted to serve the city.
If the wise decision is made to resurrect the Altamont alignment, most of the cities in the Central Valley will see service as part of the first phase of the system.
Outside the Bay Area, Merced, Turlock, Modesto, Manteca, and Tracy would all have stations on the line. Additionally, Stockton is only 14 miles from Manteca, so they would benefit from the Altamont alignmment, as well.
In the Bay Area, an Altamont alignment would offer service to the Tri-Valley/I-680 corridor, which includes Livermore and Pleasanton, along with many smaller cities, like Dublin and San Ramon. The area is home to many corporate headquarters, including Chevron-Texaco, one of the largest companies in the world. Both the Amador Valley station and the Fremont station would offer direct links to BART, providing access to the inner East Bay cities.
How many people live in cities that would have stations along the Altamont alignment? Not counting Stockton or Merced, there are over 800,000 people in the cities listed above. Add in Merced and Stockton, and the total goes to over 1,100,000.
Comapre this with a Diablo or Pacheco alignment. The Diablo alignment serves Merced, population 62,000. The Pacheco Pass alignment serves Los Banos, Gilroy, and Morgan Hill, for a total of 100,000.
So, there's a difference of almost 1,000,000 people between the corridors.
Consider that 50,000 San Joaquin County residents commute into the Bay Area each day. Capturing just 10% of that market, bringing people into the job-rich Silicon Valley at 1/2 to 1/3 the time of the fastest commute today, would fill ten trains each way, each day!