Friday, January 25, 2013

SMART approved for $12.5 million in regional funds

Newly delivered rail for the SMART project in Petaluma, Calif. Newly delivered rail for the SMART project in Petaluma, Calif. SMART Train facebook

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) approved a $12.5-million award in regional transportation funding for Phase 1 of the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) project in California.

The funds are designated specifically for connectivity to the regional airport via a four-mile extension from North Santa Rosa to the Santa Rosa Airport area.

The addition to SMART Phase 1 project funding was approved by the commission to enhance the productivity and efficiency of by linking a growing regional airport and a major employment center via the same section of track that will serve SMART's Operations & Maintenance Facility. It also leverages the investment made recently by the Sonoma County Transportation Authority (SCTA) to fund additional vehicles that make the system capable of offering regular service to additional stations.

"The timing of these funds allows us to expand the reach of Phase 1 in tandem with our 2013 construction packages," stated SMART board chair Judy Arnold. "The grant provides $12.5 million in additional regional funding while requiring a relatively modest local match and is just one example of how SMART is working to leverage every local taxpayer dollar to the fullest as we deliver the rail and pathway project."

The SMART train and pathway project is currently under construction and will provide a new regional transportation backbone with improved transit options for all North Bay residents.

"For the health of our economy and environment, it was critical that the North Bay be connected to its airport infrastructure, as well as to regional and state rail networks, including high-speed rail," said State Senator Noreen Evans (District 2). "MTC's grant to SMART is an instrumental investment in meeting our immediate objectives while also moving our communities closer to the rest of California's 21st century transportation systems."

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