South Bay transportation partners still want to connect SJC airport, Diridon Station and the west Santa Clara Valley

July 2, 2019
The RFI requests ideas on how to build and operate an affordable, grade-separated transit connection.

Mineta San José International Airport (SJC), the San José Department of transportation, the cities of Cupertino and Santa Clara, Calif., along with the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (SCVTA) have issued a Request for Information (RFI) to gather possible transit solutions that would connect SJC, Diridon Station and west Santa Clara Valley cities. 

The South Bay partners are hoping companies involved in the tech, construction and transit industries can help find a way to build and operate a grade-separated transit system “at significantly lower cost than traditional transit projects.”

“Amid unprecedented growth at San Jose International Airport, and the development of a new vision for Diridon Station—set to become the largest multi-modal transit hub west of the Mississippi – San José sits on the brink of a new age of public transit, with a unique opportunity to explore innovative transit connections to our city’s core,” said San José Mayor Sam Liccardo. “By linking the airport to the station and beyond, visitors from across the globe will be able to explore Silicon Valley’s capital without entering a car.”

The RFI requests that interested firms discuss two segments:

1. A connection from SJC to Diridon Station that would “integrate Diridon Station and SJC as a single facility from the passenger’s perspective” by providing quick and reliable trips across the roughly three miles that separate the two facilities

2. A Stevens Creek Connector that would bypass worsening vehicle traffic, taking passengers to a trio of “urban villages” in west San José, the Stevens Creek Boulevard Focus Area in Santa Clara, Main Street Cupertino, the currently-under-development Vallco site, Apple headquarters and several other corporate campuses and De Anza College.

Back in 2000, voters approved a 30-year sales tax, Measure A, that would help fund public transit capital improvement projects and included a measure for an airport people mover to connect SJC to Caltrain and SCVTA light rail. The city of San José explains that, more recently, it submitted the concept for the SJC-Diridon connector was submitted, and a vision for grade-separated transit down the Stevens Creek corridor was jointly submitted by San José, Santa Clara, Cupertino and SCVTA, to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Horizon initiative. That effort seeks to align investment in transportation, housing, economic development, resilience and the effects of emerging technologies at a regional level.

 “San José, Santa Clara, Cupertino and [SC]VTA have come together in the spirit of regional collaboration to look at bold, cutting-edge transit solutions along the Stevens Creek corridor,” San José Vice Mayor Chappie Jones said. “It is imperative that we implement solutions that will integrate existing and future development along that corridor with fast, efficient, and cost-effective solutions. The same way of thinking, or status quo, cannot continue. We must be as innovative as the region that we represent.”

“The City of Cupertino is dedicated to finding a solution to the traffic issues that plague our region,” Cupertino Councilmember Darcy Paul said. “A high-capacity, high-speed, grade-separated transit system along the Stevens Creek Boulevard corridor would go a long way toward creating quicker travel times while building stronger connections throughout the valley. Significantly faster transit is also a key factor, if not the most important factor, for a real and lasting fix to our housing crisis.”

Responses are due by September 30. Interested firms can find the RFI at

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction 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.