MENLO PARK (KPIX 5) -- As commutes to the Bay Area's major tech hubs worsen, a proposal to rebuild a century-old bridge next to the Dumbarton Bridge for commuter trains is picking up steam.
"This rail bridge is going to get built, okay? Make no mistake about it, I'm going on record, right here and now, that eventually this rail bridge will get built," San Mateo County Supervisor Warren Slocum told KPIX 5.
Local government officials have been talking about rebuilding the old Dumbarton rail bridge, which runs parallel to Highway 84, for decades.
Built in 1910, the bridge was used mostly for freight, but then fell out of service and was damaged by a fire in the 1990s.
With no funding, talk of rebuilding stayed just that.
But in recent years, the defunct rail bridge got a new neighbor: Facebook. In fact, the old rail line crosses right in front of company headquarters.
With horrendous commute traffic coming over Highway 84 from the East Bay every day, SamTrans met with Facebook to talk about solutions, when the bridge came up.
"And they were very excited, given the proximity of Dumabarton to their new campus, and they were willing to put forward some money to make sure that study happened quickly, so we've got that out," said Dan Lieberman of SamTrans.
Facebook paid for the whole study, $1.2 million, which got it done years ahead of time. The study looks at options to rebuild or rehabilitate the 1.6-mile bridge, in order to start passenger train service that links ace trains in the East Bay, to Caltrain on the Peninsula.
It could mean a Stockton to Menlo Park commute could be done in about an hour.
Estimated cost of a new rail bridge: $1.3 billion.
When asked if Facebook would help pay for some of the bridge, Lieberman said, "It's too early to say that, but we're happy to ask, along with anyone else who's interested in being part of the project."
Slocum said having big, wealthy companies chip in, could be the new normal.
"These public-private partnerships become critical in terms of getting large-scale projects done," Slocum said. "This could be a model for the rest of the Bay Area, for California, and in fact, for the nation, I think."
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