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SMART board approves bond funding for commuter-line project


The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District’s (SMART) board has approved a plan to pursue bond funding next month for the next phase of construction of a commuter-rail line and bicycle trail that Marin and Sonoma county voters approved in 2008.

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.

“With interest rates for bond financing at historic lows and construction bids coming in under budget, there is no better time than right now for SMART to get the financing it needs,” said SMART Chairperson Valerie Brown in a prepared statement.

SMART will disclose to potential investors that a “Repeal SMART” movement is gathering signatures in pursuit of an election to recall Measure Q, said SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian. Measure Q is the 2008 voter-approved ballot initiative that called for a quarter-cent sales tax to fund the agency’s transportation plan.

“We plan to sell the bonds and put the proceeds in escrow pending the results of the signature gathering,” Mansourian said. “This will allow us to maximize the benefits of the current bid climate, which can deliver substantial savings for the taxpayers’ dollars.”

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/18/2011