Transit officials mull response to West Contra Costa population growth

- Bay Area transportation officials are bracing for a major population boom in West Contra Costa County, and they've commissioned a new study to figure out the best ways to reduce congestion along the Interstate 80 corridor. 

Interstate 80 through the East Bay is already packed at all hours of the day and transportation officials are bracing for even more drivers along the freeway in the coming decades.

One solution to reduce congestion is to expand express bus service with special high capacity vehicle lanes along the freeway.

According to a report from the Bay Area News Group there is about to be a population boom along the 80 corridor. 
 
A new study predicts that by the year 2040 West Contra Costa County's population will grow by 29 percent, which means more people are hitting the roads.

Experts predict the number of vehicle miles traveled will increase 27 percent between now and 2040.

Drivers who use interstate 80 are glad to hear transportation officials are planning for the future. 

"I can't imagine it even worse... it's worse," said Marcus Moore of Berkeley.  

The study also suggests improvements to freeway on-ramps, a new bus transit center, and a BART extension using light rail that would run from the Richmond BART station to Hercules. The total price-tag is about $4 billion.

The study will be released in its final form, with formal recommendations, this May.

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