SANTA ROSA (KCBS) – More than a dozen local companies have been selected to help build the first phase of the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit commuter rail system, a project that is expected to create a thousand jobs this year alone.

The Bay Area joint venture awarded the job last month has signed on 19 subcontractors and all but three are local companies. SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian said that since construction will help turn the economic downturn around, they’re pleased to play a part in that.

“As you award projects and jobs to your subcontractors, in turn they turn around and they get their stuff locally from their vendors and their suppliers,” Mansourian said. “So there is a very good ripple effect.”

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

The $103 million contract is for the first part of what Mansourian calls the backbone of the SMART system.

“We are building 38.5 miles of track from north of Santa Rosa to the Marin Civic Center,” he said.

Mansourian said he expects to award two more contracts this summer for construction of the phase between the Marin Civic Center and downtown San Rafael and for systems engineering.

The SMART system’s initial segment is expected to be completed in 2015 or 2016.

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