SMART obtains funding to purchase three additional cars

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PETALUMA, Calif. – The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit Authority received an $11 million grant from the state of California Tuesday to purchase three more DMU cars for the commuter rail system scheduled to begin operating in December 2016. The SMART grant was part of a package of 14 grants totaling $224 million to support public transportation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The grants come from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund using proceeds from the state’s cap-and-trade auctions.

The three additional cars will boost SMART’s seating capacity by 35 percent. Because of the escalating costs for rail cars, the grant was estimated to have saved taxpayers about $11 million by purchasing them now, according to state officials.

The three cars will expand SMART’s existing fleet of 14 cars, which operate in two-car sets, enabling the system to run three three-car sets. The new cars are “middle cars” that will sandwich between two of the existing cars. That will boost passenger capacity from 320 people sitting and standing to 450 people in the three-car sets. SMART took delivery of four cars in April and has another 10 on order.

SMART ultimately will carry passengers in diesel-powered rail cars on a 70-mile former Northwestern Pacific route from Cloverdale to Larkspur. The initial 42-mile route is from north Santa Rosa to San Rafael.

The cars, supplied by Nippon Sharyo, are assembled in Rochelle, Ill.

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