NEW REPORT: TRI-VALLEY A RISING BAY AREA TECH/INNOVATION POWERHOUSE
The Tri-Valley is fast emerging as a new technology and innovation powerhouse for the Bay Area, according to a report released Thursday (Oct. 10) by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute that finds sustaining the economic activity between companies and labs in the Tri-Valley and those in the rest of the Bay Area will hinge to a large degree on improving and expanding its transportation network. The report assesses how the Tri-Valley’s current transportation system is barely keeping pace with local and regional economic activity and how funding for new and improved transportation infrastructure will be critical to maximizing and supporting future economic growth, livability, and competitiveness for the Bay Area as a whole.
Since 1994, Tri-Valley technology jobs have surged by 86 percent, outpacing the rate of growth for all jobs in an area that is defined by the Livermore, San Ramon and Amador valleys and the cities of Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon and Danville. Even during the recession from 2008 to 2011, when overall employment dropped 4 percent, technology-related jobs increased 51 percent. The 40,000 jobs that the Tri-Valley added across all sectors from 2000 to 2012 represented a 21 percent increase, about seven times the rate for the Bay Area overall.
The Tri-Valley’s success, however, hasn’t come without pain. Growing employment within the Tri-Valley and an increasingly mobile workforce that commutes to Silicon Valley, San Francisco and other parts of Alameda County have put a tremendous strain on the area’s transportation network, according to the report. The Tri-Valley also serves as a major corridor for Bay Area ports, linking with distribution centers in the Central Valley, which adds to the gridlock. The Interstate 580 corridor is among the most congested in the Bay Area. Daily delays are up by 26 percent since 2011. The report makes clear that traffic congestion will be among the biggest constraints to sustaining the Tri-Valley’s vital contribution to the Bay Area economy, particularly with employment projected to increase 30 percent by 2040 and population expected to grow 35 percent.