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Rail News: Passenger Rail

SMART, Stacy and Witbeck/Herzog negotiate contract for commuter-rail project's first phase


Yesterday, Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) officials completed negotiations with a Stacy and Witbeck Inc./Herzog Contracting Corp. joint venture for the construction of the first phase of the commuter-rail system between Santa Rosa and San Rafael, Calif.

The full SMART board is scheduled to approve the contract next week, SMART officials said in a prepared statement.

The project involves building 37 miles of track; repairing, rehabilitating or replacing 20 bridges; and reconstructing numerous crossings and station platforms, said SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian.

SMART plans to build a 70-mile line between California’s Marin and Sonoma counties. Plans call for the system’s first leg between Santa Rosa and San Rafael to open in 2014.

In December, SMART completed the sale of $191 million in multi-modal rate bonds to fund construction of the commuter-rail line and a bicycle trail that voters in California’s Marin and Sonoma counties approved in 2008. The bond sale will net SMART $171 million that will help buy trains and build the rail line, bridges, crossings and train stations.

The bond proceeds will be put in an escrow account pending the results of a “Repeal SMART” movement aimed at overturning the 2008 Measure Q vote to use a quarter-cent sales tax to fund SMART. When the repeal effort deadline passes at the end of January, the bonds will be converted to a fixed interest rate and the money will be used to fund construction, SMART officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/6/2012