MARIN COUNTY (CBS SF) – Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit has been awarded $22.5 million to connect the passenger train service between the San Rafael train station to the Golden Gate Bridge District’s Larkspur Ferry Terminal.

The grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration was announced today. The funding is from the FTA’s Capital Investment Grants program for major capital infrastructure projects nationwide.

The 2.1-mile extension to Larkspur is an important link between San Francisco and the North Bay, SMART officials said. SMART currently runs trains 43 miles with 10 stations between Airport Boulevard north of Santa Rosa and downtown San Rafael. Service began in August.

The Larkspur extension, including the train station platform and a retaining wall, is currently under construction and is expected to be completed by the end of 2019. SMART also plans to extend service north to Windsor, Healdsburg and Cloverdale in the coming years.

“We want to thank all of our federal partners for securing funding for this important extension. This provides us with the resources needed to complete our work in Larkspur and successfully expand the system,” SMART board of directors chairwoman Debora Fudge said.

Judy Arnold, SMART’s board vice chair, said the extension will connect residents, employers and visitors from San Francisco to Sonoma and Marin counties, provide an economic boost to the North Bay and create new business and tourism opportunities for local communities.

Voters in Sonoma and Marin counties approved a quarter-cent sales tax in 2008 for the 70-mile train service and a bike and pedestrian pathway in some areas between Larkspur and Cloverdale.

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