The City of Petaluma and the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District plan to deliver a second rail station and electrify buses after receiving a $13 million grant on Friday, July 8.
The funds, which are provided by the California State Transportation Agency’s State Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program, will mostly go towards the Petaluma North infill station and North McDowell Boulevard crossing upgrades. Petaluma Transit will use $3 million to electrify and improve its bus fleet, as well as renovate bus stops.
SMART board of directors chair David Rabbitt said the city will see “greatly enhanced transportation options” with the new station and 4.4 miles of new SMART pathway from Penngrove to Downtown Petaluma.
“We are grateful for the State of California’s support, and we are thrilled to begin building Petaluma’s transportation network of the future,” Rabbitt stated.
Petaluma Mayor Teresa Barrett said the grant money marks a “significant milestone,” one that the city has been waiting for since SMART service began.
“Not only will this funding deliver our eastside station but will substantially bolster our transit fleet electrification efforts, helping us reach our 2030 climate neutrality goal,” Barrett stated. “This successful regional partnership delivers for our community, our region and our future.”
Debate over Petaluma’s second SMART station has dragged on for years, with the city at odds with SMART over past development proposals.
In January 2021, for instance, the Petaluma City Council effectively killed a complicated and controversial proposal to finance the development of the second station. The proposal involved multiple properties and agreements between private developers, SMART and the city.
The $13 million grant for the Petaluma projects came as part of a $800 million investment by the California State Transportation Agency, split between 23 projects across the state. The funds are meant to expand intercity rail service, improve public transportation options and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.