Representatives from 10 Valley and East Bay counties are taking over the management of Amtrak’s San Joaquin passenger trains from the California Department of Transportation.
The San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority, meeting Friday in Stockton, approved an agreement with Caltrans to formalize the transfer, which will become official on July 1. The authority includes counties along the 365-mile Amtrak route between Bakersfield and Alameda. Caltrans will continue to be involved in funding for the trains and coordinating the San Joaquin trains with two other state-supported Amtrak lines, the Capitol Corridor between Sacramento and San Jose and the Pacific Surfliner between San Luis Obispo and San Diego.
Amtrak’s San Joaquin route is one of the five busiest passenger rail lines in the nation, carrying almost 1.2 million passengers in 2013-14. The service has been under the control of Caltrans for years, with the state providing an operating subsidy. It currently runs six southbound and six northbound trains daily, but the new joint powers authority plans to increase the service and ridership by adding a seventh daily train in each direction.