SMART plans Sonoma County airport station

The Sonoma-Marin passenger rail agency is planning to build a future station at Airport Boulevard, where riders would be just a shuttle ride away from the Sonoma County airport.

The station would become part of the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District's construction of an operations and maintenance facility on 6.6 acres that SMART is buying from the Sonoma County Water Agency.

SMART officials said the airport station would be in addition to the 14 that are already promised.

"It is set up for the future, but I suggest it won't happen before the Windsor station is built and some other things in the 72-mile plan," said SMART Chairwoman Valerie Brown. "It will be a board decision. There are a lot of components that will not make it the speediest process, but it is there, it is recognized."

County Supervisor Mike McGuire, whose district encompasses the airport, said it will be an important transportation link to the Charles M. Schultz-Sonoma County Airport.

An Airport Boulevard station was not in SMART's initial plans, which were put together before the Sonoma County airport had Alaska Air passenger service.

"SMART is absolutely right to ensure the train will serve Windsor first, that has always been the plan," McGuire said. "But it is clear via the designation of a new station that this is vitally important to SMART and the county of Sonoma and the North Bay in general."

The district is buying the site on the southwest corner of Airport Boulevard and the railroad tracks from the Water Agency for $2.7 million.

The facility is expected to cost $15 million and is part of the overall $360 million budget for the Santa Rosa-San Rafael service.

It will be where cars are inspected daily, repaired and cleaned and where dispatchers will manage both SMART's passenger trains and the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Co. freight trains.

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