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Yesterday, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) accepted Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit's (SMART) San Rafael-to-Larkspur, Calif., segment into the project development phase of the federal "Small Starts" funding program.The Small Starts designation places the SMART segment among a few projects nationwide that can be considered for federal construction dollars, SMART officials said in a press release."When we started this process, some said it couldn't be done," said SMART Chairwoman Judy Arnold. "But here we are. … We're set to work with our regional partners to get this done."SMART is advancing a passenger-rail and bicycle-pedestrian pathway project that will operate along a 70-mile corridor in California's Marin and Sonoma counties. The project is under construction.The FTA's acceptance of the project's San Rafael-to-Larkspur segment signifies the federal agency's acceptance of the project's national significance, SMART officials said.To date, mainline track construction has been completed from Guerneville Road in north Santa Rosa to downtown Petaluma. The project involves 17 miles of new track, 27 upgraded grade crossings, repair and replacement of six bridges, station platform footings and walls at four station sites, and signal work at seven crossings.
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