History of the Green Line to the Airport Project

October 18, 2021 General

In 1991, SacRT completed a Systems Planning Study, which examined several corridors for future light rail extensions within the Greater Sacramento Metropolitan Area. This examination of future service needs included a route refinement study that assessed and preserved right-of-way options for a future extension from downtown Sacramento to the Sacramento International Airport. As a result, an alignment for light rail in the Green Line corridor was identified and incorporated into the City of Sacramento’s South Natomas and North Natomas Community Plans.

In 1993, the concept for expanding light rail progressed with the Transit Master Plan (TMP) and the development of detailed studies in three corridors. Subsequently, federal, state and local funding was secured for the construction and operation of two corridor extensions to south Sacramento and Folsom.

In 2001, SacRT completed a Multi-Corridor Study that identified the Green Line extension as a potentially cost-effective transit corridor. As a result of this study, the SacRT Board of Directors directed staff to advance the corridor into the Alternatives Analysis phase. This phase involved a comprehensive evaluation of specific alignments and technologies (i.e., bus, rail, and other methods of transporting future riders), and how well they serve travel demand, alleviate congestion, and support local and economic development goals. The Alternatives Analysis was, at the time, a critical step in the federal New Starts funding program. The result of this analysis was the selection in 2003 of the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA), an extension of light rail services that generally follows 7th Street and Truxel Road from downtown Sacramento to the airport.

In 2007, a Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) was prepared to environmentally assess the entire project area from downtown Sacramento to the airport. The PEIR was certified in April 2008. The PEIR identified phases for the overall project extension. The first section of the Green Line extended light rail from downtown Sacramento to Richards Boulevard along 7th Street, and opened for service in June 2012.

In 2010, a Transitional Analysis (TA) was completed for the Green Line to the Airport project. The TA re-evaluated the LPA alignment assessing the project’s ability to meet the federal criteria for New Starts funding, as well as engaging the community for input on the station locations, designs and other matters. The TA, completed and adopted by the SacRT Board in late 2010, reaffirmed the selection of the LPA alignment and light rail mode as a cost effective investment capable of meeting the federal New Starts criteria in place at that time. The Board also affirmed a financing strategy, and new design elements including the rail placement on Truxel, the deferring of several stations and requested further study on the design concept for crossing I-80 over Gateway Park Boulevard. The Board also considered design strategies for crossing the American River that remained focused on accommodating light rail, cyclists, and pedestrians only.

The Green Line to the Airport project is identified in SacRT’s long range plans, the Sacramento Area Council of Government’s (SACOG’s) Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) and the City of Sacramento’s General Plan.