Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit Project Receives $12.5 Million in Regional Funds

Senator Noreen Evans announced that the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) has finalized its $12.5 million award in regional transportation funding for Smart Project Phase 1 of the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit Project project.  The funds are designated specifically for connectivity to the regional airport via a 4-mile extension from North Santa Rosa to the Santa Rosa Airport area, and were approved by the MTC at today’s board meeting.

“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 Evans. “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.”

Evans worked to coordinate local efforts to secure SMART funding and in November made a formal request to MTC urging consideration for investments in expanding both north to the Sonoma County Airport and south to Larkspur.   MTC’s programing and allocations committee recommended the fund approval in early January however, the full board provided final approval at their meeting today.

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.”  Added Arnold, “SMART is incredibly appreciative of Senator Evans’ efforts on behalf of SMART taxpayers, and the commitment she has shown to work with us on an expansion to Larkspur as well.”

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.

“With this grant SMART can invest in a viable, sustainable, and solution-oriented project that benefits every citizen in the North Bay,” continued Evans.  “MTC, the voters of Marin and Sonoma, SMART and the State are to be commended for moving this project forward and working to connect the North Bay with the bounty California affords.”

State Senator Noreen Evans represents the Second Senatorial District, including all or portions of the Counties of Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Marin, Napa, Solano and Sonoma. Senator Evans Chairs the Senate Committee on Judiciary and is the outgoing Chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus.

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