SMART East-West Rail Corridor Receives Federal Boost

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
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The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District (SMART) announced Dec. 18 that its east-west rail corridor, connecting the City of Novato to Suisun City, has been designated for inclusion under the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Corridor Identification and Development (Corridor ID) program.

This achievement, SMART says, “signifies a significant step forward for intercity passenger rail development in the region,” with Caltrans set to receive and administer $500,00 initial Corridor ID funds to further passenger rail expansion.

Groundwork was laid for this federal decision through legislative action taken by the State of California through the 2022 passage of Senator McGuire’s Senate Bill 1175, designating SMART’s track as a state supported intermodal passenger service corridor. Caltrans followed this change by including SMART in a State-prioritized list of passenger rail corridors for consideration through the federal Corridor ID process.

By incorporating the SMART-owned rail corridor into the FRA Corridor ID program, the agency says the east-west track spanning from Suisun to Novato “gains national recognition, enabling Caltrans to seek grants that propel the advancement of passenger rail initiatives.” The designation, SMART adds, “reflects federal interest and dedication to enhancing east-west passenger service.”

“The inclusion of our east-west corridor into the Corridor ID program demonstrates federal support and commitment to advancing passenger service in the region,” said SMART Board of Directors Chair Eric Lucan. “SMART’s existing operation of freight services on these tracks lays the foundation for a future where passengers can seamlessly travel by train from Novato to Sacramento.”

“The federal designation is a game changer,” said Senate President Designee Mike McGuire. “Up until now, this east-west rail corridor that connects Marin, Sonoma and Solano Counties hadn’t been eligible for federal passenger rail funding. Now, SMART will be able to tap these federal and state funds to help move the commuter service east. This really puts our legislation to work by expanding the Capitol Corridor along SMART’s east-west tracks. I’m grateful to partner with Congressman Huffman, Senator Dodd, and the SMART board on this big win that brings us one step closer to completing a world-class regional passenger rail system that connects the North Bay and beyond.”

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