The Metropolitan Transportation Commission today approved $16.7 million needed to extend the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit’s rail service to the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa.
The SMART’s board of directors also approved the addition of a new passenger station about a half-mile from the airport.
SMART also plans to build an Operations and Maintenance Facility near the airport.
Earlier this year the Commission allocated $750,000 to design track improvements to the Operations and Maintenance Facility.
The $16.7 million will pay for the track improvements to the airport and the passenger rail station.
The total cost of the project is $29.1 million.
Voters in Marin and Sonoma counties approved a quarter-cent sales tax measure in 2008 to help finance a 70-mile rail line and between Cloverdale and Larkspur.
SMART voted to first build the 39-mile Santa Rosa to San Rafael segment after less money became available during the recession. That segment could be ready by 2016, but SMART still hopes to build the entire line.
Mainline track construction is finished between Guerneville Road in Santa Rosa to downtown Petaluma, and construction south toward San Rafael will continue next year.
The money approved Wednesday will pay for track improvements between Guerneville Road and the airport area.
SMART is hopeful funding will be secured to extend the line from San Rafael to Larkspur.