SMART east-west rail corridor receives federal recognition

Smart train
Mark Prado

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District (SMART) announced Monday that its east-west rail corridor, connecting Novato to Suisun City, has been designated for inclusion under the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Corridor Identification and Development (Corridor ID) program. 

This signifies a step forward for intercity passenger rail development in the region, with Caltrans set to receive and administer $500,000 in initial Corridor ID funds to further passenger rail expansion in the region.

By incorporating the SMART-owned rail corridor into the Corridor ID 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.

“Bringing home federal dollars to create cleaner, safer transportation systems is a top priority for me," said Congressman Jared Huffman. "The FRA’s inclusion of SMART’s expansion 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 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. Up until now, this east-west rail corridor that connects Marin, Sonoma and Solano Counties hadn’t been eligible for federal passenger rail funding." McGuire said. "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."


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