RFP issued for Silicon Valley airport connector project

May 18, 2022
Up to two proposers will be selected for a pre-development agreement for the project that will connect San Jose’s airport with Diridon Station.

A request for proposals (RFP) has been issued by the San José Department of Transportation for a project that will connect Mineta San José International Airport with Diridon Station near the city’s downtown.

"Linking what will become the busiest transportation hub on the West Coast, Diridon Station, with our city's gateway to the world, San José Mineta International Airport, has long been an elusive goal,” said San José Mayor Sam Liccardo. “With this promising next step, we're showing residents that we are committed to delivering on this crucial connection and fulfilling the promise of Measure A, passed many years ago. I am excited to see the ingenuity brought forward through this process and how we can leverage the finest talent and solutions to make the Airport Connector a reality."

The city is pursuing a public-private partnership model for the transit solution “to keep public costs low and encourage innovation.” The city says it will select up to two proposers to enter into a pre-development agreement with each proposal evaluated on viability and value and a final selection made to provide the transit technology, develop a business model including securing private funding and design a dedicated transit system that avoids street-level crossings.

“This is a very exciting project that will innovate on several fronts,” said San José Director of Transportation John Ristow. “We’re asking companies to really push the envelope on technology, within a public-private partnership that helps us leverage the talents and resources of the private sector. The result should be a model project for the city and a great user experience for the passenger.”

The city issued a request for information in July 2019 for the project and received 23 responses with 19 proposals suggesting a mix of established and emerging transit technologies.

“As Silicon Valley’s Airport, we welcome the technology and innovation that this project has the potential to bring to our region,” said John Aitken, director of aviation at Mineta San José International Airport. “As a hub for new airline technology, we see this transit-based connection to our terminals as yet another measure for upgrading our passengers’ experience. This is a tremendous opportunity to support the development of new travel technology, and we couldn’t be more pleased to have this highly sought amenity on the horizon.”

The city also notes this project is being viewed as a first phase of a potential larger system to carry people across San José. Any future expansion would be based on the success of the airport connection.

Interested parties have until Aug. 16, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. PT to submit a proposal.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.