San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission – Associate/Senior Planner

The position hired will either be Associate Planner or Senior Planner depending on qualifications.  The Associate/Senior Planner will perform short- and long-range planning, agency coordination, and advocacy efforts for both the ACE and San Joaquins rail services.  The position supports ACE and San Joaquin’s planning, public involvement, environmental, financial, legislative, network integration, station area development and other activities related to maintaining and improving these services.  The Associate/Senior Planner will conduct passenger surveys, monitor route performance for effectiveness, evaluate ridership and performance statistics, assists with grant applications, and coordinate with other departments and agencies.  The position will involve analyzing service data, making decisions to solve problems, representing the SJRRC and SJJPA at public events and meetings, and overseeing data collection.

Distinguishing Characteristics
The Associate Planner will take direction from the Senior Planner and the Manager of Regional Initiatives positions and serve in a support role.  The Senior Planner will take direction from the Manager of Regional Initiatives and will generally work independently and be responsible for managing projects and tasks from start to finish.

Regional Initiatives Program
The Associate/Senior Planner will work under the Regional Initiatives Program, which is split between the ACE and San Joaquins services.  For ACE, the work is focused on the ACE improvement and expansion program known as “ACEforward”.  The goals of ACEforward are to increase ACE to 10 daily round trips and to expand ACE to serve Modesto, Merced and Sacramento.

In addition to managing the ACEforward process, the Regional Initiatives Program established the SJJPA and is responsible for SJJPA Board Meetings, Business Plans, advocacy efforts, agency coordination, marketing and outreach, as well as planning for San Joaquins service improvements and expansion.  It also provides staffing for the SJJPA Working Group, Central Valley Rail Working Group and San Joaquin Valley Rail Committee (a technical advisory committee for the SJJPA).

Position Duties

  • Conduct short- and long-range planning efforts for the ACE and San Joaquins rail services, and for the Amtrak Thruway Bus network.
  • Collect and process ridership and other data related to ACE, San Joaquins, and Amtrak Thruway buses.
  • Work to improve multi-modal connectivity at rail stations.
  • Support the development of annual SJJPA Business Plan Updates.
  • Assist with the development of SJJPA Board Meeting Agendas, Briefing Book materials, and SJJPA Presentations.
  • Provide staff support for the Central Valley Rail Working Group, San Joaquin Valley Rail Committee, and the Assembly Select Committee on Rail.
  • Conduct reviews of planning, environmental, engineering work done by consultants.
  • Review invoices from consultants.
  • Develop and make presentations to agencies and organizations regarding ACE and San Joaquins improvement and expansion plans.
  • Support efforts to promote transit oriented development.
  • Work with cities, Amtrak and other SJRRC/SJJPA staff to implement stations improvements.
  • Monitor and help maintain the SJJPA and Amtrak San Joaquins websites.
  • Assists with grant applications for funding for ACE and San Joaquins services.
  • Coordinates with and is a resource for SJRRC and SJJPA Operations, and Outreach and Marketing Departments.
  • Helps maintain database of agency contacts, organizations, and other stakeholders.
  • Carries out multiple strategic and tactical tasks.

Minimum Qualifications


BA/BS degree, ideally in Planning, or Engineering, or equivalent work experience in a similar role.


At least 3 years of increasingly responsible relevant experience for the Associate Planner position and at least 5 years of increasingly responsible relevant experience for the Senior Planner position (2 years of relevant experience can include an advanced degree such as an MS or MCP).

Knowledge of:
It is desired for the applicant to have some knowledge of some of the areas listed below and a strong desire to gain experience in these areas:

  • Rail and bus project planning, land use planning, station area development, bicycle and pedestrian planning, intermodal station planning
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements and regulations
  • Project management and project delivery
  • Service planning principles and metrics used to evaluate performance
  • Data collection techniques in transportation
  • Local and regional agency applicable planning laws, zoning regulations, and planning processes (including Regional Transportation Plans)
  • State and Federal laws related to transportation planning, programming, and funding of transit projects
  • State and Federal legislative process and the workings of State, Federal, Regional and Local governments
  • Commuter, intercity, high-speed rail, and freight rail
  • Calculations for greenhouse gas reductions, Cap & Trade and sustainability programs
  • Efficient time management and identifying priorities
  • Innovative and creative planning, advocacy, and outreach strategies and partnerships

Ability to:
The applicant must have the ability to:

  • Communicate clearly, properly, and effectively to various and diverse audiences both orally and in writing
  • Carry out technical tasks and ensure accurate documents (strong technical abilities and attention to detail is a requirement)
  • Establish and maintain cooperative working relationships
  • Maintain records associated with procurements, contracting, and finances
  • Make informed, collaborative and appropriate decisions on behalf of the department
  • Write planning related documents
  • Review planning documents, environmental documents, engineering plans and technical reports
  • Produce accurate work – candidate must be detail-oriented and set high standards for quality
  • Creatively position the agency in new and innovative partnerships
  • Use computer programs such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc. Familiarity with Adobe Design Suite a plus.
  • Work toward goals and objectives
  • Work independently with minimal supervision
  • Budget for multiple projects
  • Build and cultivate a teamwork atmosphere
  • Lead in an environment of change
  • Works within a team – must build relationships and work effectively at all levels of an organization

Other Requirements
Valid California Class C driver’s license
Familiarity with general office equipment
Willing to work irregular hours (Early mornings, late nights and some weekends)
Frequent driving within the ACE and San Joaquin Corridors

Physical and Mental Requirements

MOBILITY – Frequent operation of keyboards, sitting for extended periods of time, standing for long periods, walking, pushing/pulling, bending, squatting, driving, climbing stairs or other objects, occasional crawling
LIFTING – Frequently 5 – 30 pounds or less, occasionally 30 – 70 pounds, occasionally restraining, lifting/turning heavy objects
VISION –Frequent reading and close-up work, normal hand eye coordination
DEXTERITY – normal dexterity with frequent writing and repetitive motion
HEARING/TALKING – Frequent hearing and talking on the telephone and in person EMOTIONAL/PSYCHOLOGICAL – Frequent public contact and decision making

SPECIAL CONDITIONS – may be exposed to dust and varied outdoor conditions

PROPOSED SALARY RANGE   $28.85 – $40.87 ($60,000 – $85,000 ANNUALLY)


  • Choice of PPO or HMO plans.  100% employee coverage, 70% dependent coverage
  • Vision, dental, and life insurance programs
  • Agency contribution equivalent of 15% of employee’s base salary to a defined contribution plan (401a); five-year vesting program.
  • Sick leave accrued at 12 days per year
  • Vacation leave accrued starting at 10 days per year
  • 10 observed holidays
  • Floating holidays accrued at four days per year
  • Optional deferred compensation program (457)