Thursday, December 19, 2013

SMART gets more funds, adds station to line

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Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) said Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) has approved $16.7 million in funds to extend passenger rail service to the site of SMART's Operations & Maintenance Facility (OMF) near the Sonoma County Airport in California.

SMART's Board of Directors, in a related move, approved the addition of a new passenger station to serve the OMF.

MTC is the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) overseeing transportation planning, coordinating, and financing "for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area," according to its website.

"We've completed the 50% design for the track reconstruction to the Operations & Maintenance Facility that the commission funded in January, following the efforts by Senator Noreen Evans," stated SMART Director and MTC Commissioner Jake Mackenzie. "There was a strong case for the last piece of funding to actually create a station at the airport, with all the benefits that brings. I thank my commission colleagues for their support for the project and commitment to a truly regional transportation system. "

""This isn't just the site of a rapidly growing regional airport," said SMART Director and Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane. "It has one of the highest concentrations of jobs in the North Bay. Added to that, the Guerneville Rd. station has the highest concentration of housing within ½ mile in the entire SMART system and is close to major retail, hospitals and higher education. A station here connects all that together and just makes sense."

Last month SMART approved a $68.7 million construction contract for design and construction of right-of-way in Marin County, Calif., to commence next year. Trackwork in Sonoma County for the first phase is nearly complete. SMART eventually seeks a 70-mile line linking Cloverdale and Larkspur, with ferry connections planned to link Larkspur with San Francisco.