SMART Rail & Pathway 
December 18, 2013
Press Release

 

SMART Receives Funding,

Adds Station at Sonoma County Airport

 

Petaluma, CA - Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) announced today that 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 a related action, the SMART Board of Directors approved the addition of a new passenger station at this location at today's board meeting.

The funding is in addition to the allocation of $750,000 by the Commission earlier this year to design the track improvements to the SMART Operations & Maintenance Facility. The additional $16.7 million is allocated to construction of the improvements and to establish an operating passenger rail station at the airport site.

The total of the project is $29.1 million, including track reconstruction, completion of a station, the federally-required systems for passenger rail service to the new station and funding previously approved for an additional two-car train set. SMART is providing $700,000 in Measure Q funds as a local match.

"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. "

"I am pleased that SMART wasted no time in putting the initial funding to use to make an airport station a reality," added Evans. "It is a key element in connecting North Bay residents and businesses to the rest of California's 21st century transportation options."

The completed 50% design efforts include cost estimates for civil and track construction, bridge rehabilitation and replacement, systems construction and environmental permitting.  

"This isn't just the site of a rapidly growing regional airport," observed 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 � 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."

Added SMART Director and Windsor Councilmember Debora Fudge, "The companies and employees in this area will prosper with added rail service, and the expanded airport will attract new jobs and increase tourism. With the rail extension and a station at the airport, we are now halfway to Windsor and continue our progress to get the full system built."

In December 2012 MTC also approved a $6.6 million allocation recommended by Sonoma County Transportation Authority (SCTA) to acquire the rail cars necessary to provide full service to stations north of Santa Rosa's Railroad Square.

"Given that MTC's funding of the track improvements were made with the specific purpose of connectivity to the regional airport, we appreciate the Commission's approval of additional funds to put final piece of the puzzle in place for an operating station," said SMART Director and President of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors David Rabbitt, adding, "SCTA has also committed to the project by accelerating about $4 million from the funds available to SMART through Measure M."

SMART Director and Cloverdale Mayor Carol Russell pointed out the benefits to taxpayers of completing the work sooner rather than later, given that the SMART Operations & Maintenance Facility at the airport site will be in use when rail service starts in less than three years. "If we just do the track improvements now and then have to come back later and tear part of it up and disrupt both passenger and freight service to do additional construction and put in the systems you need - that just costs more and takes longer. This maximizes the investment and that will be critical to getting the system all the way to Cloverdale and down to Larkspur in the shortest time possible."

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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