Hear the train coming

Zigzagging from San Jose to Auburn, the Capitol Corridor train service has become an indispensable link between the Bay Area and the Sacramento region.

It is among the highest-performing Amtrak routes in the country, supporting 1.5 million passengers last year with room to grow.

The Capitol Corridor board has been focused on reducing travel time, increasing service to Roseville and the foothills, providing critical connections to high-speed rail and intercity rail service in the San Joaquin Valley, and reducing our regional carbon footprint.

The board recently took a crucial step of tripling service to and from the Roseville area by voting to direct $79 million of state grant funds to support building an additional track between Roseville and downtown Sacramento.

This project will greatly ease congestion on Interstate 80 and provide a stress-free commute alternative, but the funding change was not without heartache.

The Board of Directors made the decision to shift funding away from an expansion of service within the Bay Area because that project was not yet ready. The time was right to capitalize on Placer County’s support of the project, which has been prioritized in that county’s Measure M on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Commuting by rail is important because the I-80 route is one of the region’s most congested corridors.

We live in what the Bay Area Council has dubbed the Northern California megaregion, encompassing the Sacramento and Bay Area metropolitan regions. Economic prosperity and megaregional integration will require a transportation system that can alleviate our job-housing challenges, sustainably grow our economy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Sacramento’s transit system is on the verge of improvement. There will be a regional bike-sharing program, growth of ride-sharing services, revitalization of the Regional Transit system, service to the downtown Golden 1 Center, and a planned downtown-to-West-Sacramento streetcar. Expanded Capitol Corridor service will enhance all of the above.

Sacramento City Councilman Steve Hansen is a member of the boards of the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority and Regional Transit Authority.