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A regional transportation funding agency gave Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit a vote of confidence Wednesday as SMART seeks money to extend the commuter rail to Larkspur.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Programming and Allocations Committee recommended $20 million in bridge toll money for the project. The full commission needs to approve the funding proposal at its May 28 meeting.

The MTC money, which would be transferred from a proposed Greenbrae interchange project that is now abandoned, would represent half of the $40 million price tag for SMART’s Larkspur extension. The other half could come from a federal grant the agency hopes to receive later this year.

“We are grateful that the region continues to support the SMART project, and we believe this will encourage the federal government to help us complete SMART’s connection to the Larkspur Ferry,” SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian said in a written statement.

SMART is preparing tracks for commuter service between just north of Santa Rosa to San Rafael in late 2016. An extension to Larkspur could follow soon after. A northern extension to Cloverdale remains unfunded.

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