North Bay Senator spearheaded efforts to access state funding for passenger rail service connecting Marin and Sonoma counties
Sacramento, CA – Following through on his commitment to the success of SMART (the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit), Senator Mike McGuire, working hand-in-hand with the SMART Board of Directors and State Transportation officials, announced today that $11 million has been secured for the purchase of additional rail vehicles which will serve northbound service. The additional vehicles are needed to expand capacity and connect the Town of Windsor to the remainder of the SMART system.
“SMART’s success is key to the North Bay’s economy, combatting highway congestion and reducing our carbon footprint. We’re going to put this funding to work immediately and I’m excited to be partnering with SMART to get this service up and running in 2016,” Senator Mike McGuire said.
Senator McGuire has been working to secure the funds needed to expand rail service since his time on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, and immediately upon being elected to the State Senate, he set his sights on state assistance to expand service to Northern Sonoma County and ultimately connecting the 70-mile rail corridor that will link Marin and Sonoma counties together. In March, Senator McGuire along with members of the Marin and Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, SMART Directors and local Councilmembers, hosted State Secretary of Transportation Brian Kelly and Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty on a tour of the corridor.
Following the tour, the $11 million request was made to purchase the three additional rail cars. SMART has through the end of 2017 to purchase the cars at a discount, which will save local taxpayer funds. The price of the same rail cars is expected to double after 2017. The additional rail cars will increase seating capacity by 35 percent, system-wide.
SMART board chairperson Judy Arnold said: “With the state’s support, we are able to ensure that we will have 50 percent more capacity for passengers and bicycles during peak periods and as we extend rail service north and south from our first phase. This will provide people with options for reducing their transportation related greenhouse gas emissions, helping our communities and the state realize greenhouse gas reduction goals. We have built all of our stations to accommodate a 3 car system and are very grateful to Secretary Kelly and Senator McGuire for their collaboration and approval of our request.”
SMART continues to work with federal leaders to secure funding to connect the Marin Civic Center to the Larkspur Ferry Terminal. SMART and Senator McGuire will continue to work together on the additional funding which is still needed to modernize the track and signaling on the rail corridor, which connects the Sonoma County Airport with the Town of Windsor.
The $11 million grant was awarded through the California Cap-and-Trade program that puts the state on an aggressive path toward reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.