Wednesday, September 25, 2013

SMART rail project segment accepted into "New Starts" program

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has accepted Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit's (SMART) segment from San Rafael to Larkspur, Calif., into the Project Development phase of its "Small Starts" funding program.

 

This designation grants SMART funding to complete the federal environmental review process, as well as final engineering and design for this segment.

"When we started this process some said it couldn't be done," noted SMART Board Chair Judy Arnold. "But here we are and it's because every board member representing every community is determined to complete the entire project to both the north and to the south in the shortest time possible. We're set to work with our other regional partners to get this done."

The Small Starts designation puts SMART among a small group of projects nationwide that can be considered for federal construction dollars from this program. The consideration process for the project development designation is rigorous, evaluating candidate projects' local and regional financing track record and demonstrated achievement of progress milestones. By accepting the SMART San Rafael to Larkspur project into the Small Starts program, the FTA has acknowledged the national significance of the project.

SMART is entering the Small Starts program with two of the four key milestones for award of construction funding already complete and the third, which is federal environmental clearance, will be done by early 2014.

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.

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