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SMART completes bond sale to fund new commuter-rail service


Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) completed its sale of $199 million in bonds to fund construction of a commuter-rail line and pathway that will link California’s Sonoma and Marin counties, SMART officials announced on Tuesday.

The bond sale will net the agency $171 million in construction dollars and additional funds in construction reserves that will help build the rail line, buy trains, and build bridges, crossings and stations, agency officials said in a prepared statement. SMART plans to build a 70-mile line between Marin and Sonoma counties. Plans call for the system’s first leg between Santa Rosa and San Rafael to open in 2014.

Interest in the SMART bonds was “very high,” with more than 30 different, well-known institutional investors participating, including five to 10 California municipal bond funds, said SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian.

“The end result is that SMART was able to generate the funds it needed to complete the project, including important project reserves,” Mansourian said.

In 2008, voters approved Measure Q, a sales tax measure to fund the rail line, bicycle and pedestrian path.

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More News from 5/4/2012