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'Game-Changer': SMART East-West Corridor Receives Federal Designation

NORTH BAY, CA — The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District announced Monday that its east-west rail corridor connecting the city of Novato to Suisun City has been designated for inclusion under the Federal Railroad Administration Corridor Identification and Development (Corridor ID) program — a significant step forward for intercity passenger rail development in the region. Caltrans is set to receive and administer $500,000 in initial Corridor ID funds to further passenger rail expansion in the region. "Bringing home federal dollars to create cleaner, safer transportation systems is a top priority for me," said U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman. "The FRA’s inclusion of SMART’s expansions of passenger rail service between Sacramento and Novato is an exciting investment that will open the door to even more dollars and contribute to a greener future for all our communities." Groundwork was laid for this federal decision through legislative action taken by the state of California through the 2022 passage of state Sen. Mike McGuire’s Senate Bill 1175, designating SMART’s track as a state-supported intermodal passenger service corridor. Caltrans followed this change by including SMART in a state-prioritized list of passenger rail corridors for consideration through the federal Corridor ID process. "The federal designation is a game-changer," said McGuire, state Senate president designee. "Up until now, this east-west rail corridor that connects Marin, Sonoma and Solano counties hadn’t been eligible for federal passenger rail funding. Now, SMART will be able to tap these federal and state funds to help move the commuter service east. This really puts our legislation to work by expanding the Capitol Corridor along SMART's east-west tracks. I'm grateful to partner with Congressman Huffman, Senator Dodd, and the SMART board on this big win that brings us one step closer to completing a world-class regional passenger rail system that connects the North Bay and beyond."State Sen. Bill Dodd also commented on what it means for the region. "This is a significant step toward the ultimate goal of bringing passenger rail to more North Bay communities," Dodd said. "I commend SMART for its leadership and vision in creating these important opportunities to help respond to our region’s future transportation needs, ease congestion and get more carbon-emitting vehicles off the road." By incorporating the SMART-owned rail corridor into the FRA Corridor Identification and Development program, the east-west track spanning from Suisun to Novato gains national recognition, enabling Caltrans to seek grants that propel the advancement of passenger rail initiatives. The designation reflects federal interest and dedication to enhancing east-west passenger service. "The inclusion of our east-west corridor into the Corridor ID program demonstrates federal support and commitment to advancing passenger service in the region," said Eric Lucan, chair of the SMART Board of Directors. "SMART's existing operation of freight services on these tracks lays the foundation for a future where passengers can seamlessly travel by train from Novato to Sacramento."

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