Written by The Business Journal Staff
Valley business and political leaders held a news conference outside Downtown Fresno’s Amtrak station this morning to announce the expansion.
The new service, which began today, will allow Valley riders to arrive in the Bay area by mid-morning.
“This is a great day for Fresno and the San Joaquin Valley,” said Supervisor Henry Perea, who is also the vice chair of the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (SJJPA), the managing public agency of Amtrak San Joaquins.
Perea said adding a seventh daily trip, the first expansion of Amtrak’s service through the Valley in 14 years, was a process four years in the making. “As the Central Valley continues to grow, our board understands the importance of offering more trains and services along the corridor,” he added.
Madera County Supervisor Brett Frazier, who also spoke at today’s event, said the expansion will “help connectivity while helping to move more people. Expanding these services allows us to get there on our time,” added Frazier, who also is a member of the SJJPA board.
Fresno City Councilmember Esmerelda Soria and Kings County Supervisor Doug Verboon also delivered brief remarks during Monday’s press conference.
John Lehn, CEO of the Kings County Economic Development Corporation, said the 7th daily round trip “is not only more convenient, but it opens up even more doors for economic growth in our region.”
“Fresno and our fellow cities along the corridor will surely benefit by having more options, more convenience and ultimately, a better way to travel,” said Soria.
Covering 365 miles, the San Joaquins line is Amtrak’s fifth-busiest route, with 18 stations and 1.1 million annual riders.