Monday, January 28, 2013

Airport link eyed for SMART rail startup

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Airport link eyed for SMART rail startup Sumitomo/Nippon Sharyo

Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) rail operations, to serve its namesake counties north of San Francisco, may add an airport/rail station stop at Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport, according to local officials.

SMART received a $12.5 million grant last week to extend its tracks roughly four miles and add the station, which was not in its original plan.

"Sonoma County Airport is doubling its size. It's building a new terminal," SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian noted to local media.

The new funding comes froom the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Work began in February 2012 on the $103 million initial segment, which now will total about 42.5 miles. The initial segment will Santa Rosa and San Raphael, Calif. Service is scheduled to begin in 2016. Service was anticipated to begin in 2016, though a target date of early 2017 now appears more likely.

An earlier plan called for a line of roughly 70 miles connecting Cloverdale, Calif., with the Larkspur Ferry Terminal, where marine connections could be made for travel to San Francisco.