Northwestern Pacific Railroad Network

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Another timely article/news tip from Steve Atnip:

Published: Monday, December 14, 2009 at 5:51 p.m.

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit district has received $2.5 million in federal funds for preliminary engineering and environmental work on its planned commuter rail line.

The funds were in the Fiscal Year 2010 Omnibus bill, which the Senate passed on Sunday, according to Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma.

Woolsey said the bill also contains $2 million for the Golden Gate Bridge District's retrofit work, and $500,000 for the Petaluma Health Center renovations.

SMART, which is being funded primarily by the Measure Q quarter-cent sales tax measure passed by voters last year, has begun engineering work on rail cars and on the 71-mile line that stretches from Cloverdale to Larkspur.

Service is scheduled to begin in 2014.

The funds will help bridge the long-term $155 million shortfall SMART faces because the economic recession has weakened the bond market and depressed sales tax revenues.

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