SONOMA (KCBS) – Riders on the commuter rail line being built through Sonoma and Marin counties will be able to catch a train all the way to the Charles M. Schulz – Sonoma County Airport, transportation officials said.

Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit was awarded a $12.5 million grant Wednesday to extend its tracks and build a station not in the original SMART rail plan near the fast-growing airport.

KCBS’ Jeffrey Schaub Reports:

“Sonoma County Airport is doubling its size. It’s building a new terminal,” said SMART general manager Farhad Mansourian.

The four-mile extension will still leave the SMART rail line 25 miles shorter than the originally planned route. Plans for tracks between Cloverdale and the Larkspur Ferry Terminal were scaled back when tax revenue dried up during the sour economy.

The new funding from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission connects San Rafael and Santa Rosa to what many see as a growing regional hub for air travel.

“This makes a lot of sense. Imagine you get in a train and then you’re minutes away from the airport,” Mansourian said, with regular shuttle service as well as bicycle and pedestrian pathways to the airfield.

Officials predict the shortened SMART rail line will be up and running by 2017, with plans to add additional tracks as funding becomes available.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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