SMART approves $14.1 million for a second Petaluma train station

Construction of the new SMART station at Corona Road and North McDowell Boulevard is expected to begin next year.|

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit agency’s board of directors has given the green light for $14.1 million to be used to complete construction of Petaluma’s second train station.

In a unanimous vote at their Oct. 19 meeting, board members approved the funding allocation that allows for the construction of the Petaluma North Station at Corona Road and North McDowell Boulevard.

“I look forward to this really important new station coming online with the second largest city in our county,” said SMART board chair and Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt during the Wednesday meeting.

The station, he said, will have “a lot of ridership potential over at the east side of town, making it much easier for connections up and down the corridor.”

SMART officials said in a staff report that the agency anticipates awarding an engineering contract in December, and construction of the new station is expected to begin in summer 2023 and be completed by late 2024.

The approval came about three months after SMART secured $10.1 million from the state transportation agency’s Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program, which will be used for the construction of the train station and in conjunction with enhancements to the McDowell railroad crossing and a multi-use pathway.

The city of Petaluma also agreed to contribute $2 million in funds to the project, matching additional funds from the county’s Measure M dollars. However, that $4 million portion still has yet to be officially approved by city and county leaders, the SMART board said.

Petaluma has long sought a second train station to serve residents in the north and east parts of the city, and city and SMART officials have tried for years to obtain the funding needed to get it built. That included applying for a variety of state and federal grants and attempts at creating a funding partnership with Danco Group, an Arcata-based housing developer.

None of those efforts did the trick until last July, when the city and transit agency announced in a joint news conference that they had secured the state Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program grant totaling $13 million to help improve the city’s transportation system. The $10.1 million going to the Petaluma North SMART station comes from that grant, which was part of a larger portion of funds awarded to the county totaling $25 million.

“This marks a significant milestone that Petalumans have been waiting for since the inception of SMART service in Sonoma County,” said Petaluma Mayor Teresa Barrett during the July news conference.

Amelia Parreira is a staff writer for the Argus-Courier. She can be reached at amelia.parreira@arguscourier.com or 707-521-5208.

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