The California Transportation Commission has approved the CEQA environmental review of the 2.2-mile extension of The Portal, San Francisco’s Downtown Rail Extension. The Portal will connect the city’s existing 4th Street Train Station to the Salesforce Transit Center. Once complete, the connection will accommodate Caltrain and future high-speed rail.
The notice of determination for the extension has determined that the project will have a significant effect on the environment and that a mitigation measures and reporting plan were adopted to minimize its impact. The report was sent from the California Transportation Commission to the State’s Office of Planning and Research.
The Portal will include a new underground station at Fourth and Townsend. A tunnel will connect with the Transbay Transit Center underground station, which opened in 2018. the Transbay Joint Powers Authority writes that “the already built two-level trainbox will serve as the Lower Concourse, and Train Platform levels when The Portal is complete.”
San Francisco is one of three cities with HSR stops in the Bay Area. HSR, which will transverse around 422 miles from Downtown Los Angeles, will stop at Millbrae’s BART-Caltrain connection hub and San Jose’s Diridon Station.
Earlier this year, the public learned about a newly projected $6.7 billion price tag for the 1.3-mile underground connection from the current station to Downtown. Completion is expected as early as 2032. However, the Bay Area has seen its fair share of infrastructure projects with ballooning price tags, missed deadlines, and reduced scale. Most recently, in Santa Clara County, the six-mile BART extension has seen its initial $4.7 billion expansion that would open in 2026 be slowly pushed back a full decade, now projected to open in 2036 at a cost of roughly $12.2 billion.