By MATT BROWN
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit has received an $11.4 million boost to extend commuter train service to the Larkspur ferry.
The Transportation Authority of Marin has voted to redirect funds from Regional Measure 2, which are raised from bridge tolls. The local dollars provide a key piece to a funding puzzle that includes federal grant money to complete the $40 million extension.
Last week, SMART announced the project had been accepted into an exclusive federal funding program for transportation projects. Projects qualifying for the Federal Transit Administration Small Start program, of which there are about 50 nationwide, require a minimum of 20 percent local matching funds.
“These funds are a critical component for federal funding eligibility by leveraging local funds,” SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian said in a statement. “We are grateful to TAM’s board and staff for recognizing the importance of this project as part of the overall solution, and their action definitely makes the project more competitive at the federal level.”
The money, which still needs approval by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, includes $3 million to construct a permanent crossing at Andersen Drive in San Rafael. The MTC has not yet scheduled a vote to approve the funds.
The agency is currently working on the $2.5 million environmental and engineering phase of the extension project. That phase is expected to be completed by 2014, SMART said.
The 2.2-mile extension will bring riders to Larkspur’s Golden Gate Ferry terminal, which serves San Francisco’s Ferry Building and AT&T Park during Giants home games.
Trains on the 39-mile Santa Rosa to San Rafael section are expected to run starting in 2016. SMART is continuing to look for funding to extend the line north to Cloverdale.