Grant approved for Novato SMART station

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission on Wednesday approved an additional $500,000 for construction of a downtown Novato station for Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit.

The $6 million SMART train station is under construction between Grant and De Long avenues.

“This is an important piece in connecting Novato residents and businesses to SMART,” Marin County Supervisor and SMART Board of Directors member Judy Arnold said in a statement.

“The station will be an economic boost for businesses and a viable transportation alternative to many residents who live within walking distance of the station,” Arnold said.

The first phase of the downtown station, $2.4 million for gauntlet rails, switches, ramps and a platform structure, is complete.

The nearly $3 million phase two will start later this year and be completed in mid-2018. It includes electrical and system controls and final platform improvements.

The $500,000 grant approved Wednesday by the MTC will completely fund phase three’s site improvements, pick-up and drop-off area, parking, lighting and landscaping. Completion is expected in late 2018.

There are two other SMART stations in Novato. Novato San Marin is at 7700 Redwood Blvd. and Novato Hamilton is at 10 Main Gate Road.

SMART has been offering free preview rides this summer between the Sonoma County Airport station north of Santa Rosa and downtown San Rafael. A date for when full pay service will begin has not been determined.