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The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit's (SMART) board last week approved a California state-sponsored plan that calls for the agency to take ownership of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Co.
The complex agreement was years in the making, with the sale's framework established in a 2018 bill that provided SMART with $4 million to buy the railroad, its equipment and exclusive rights to its track from Larkspur to north of Cloverdale, The Press Democrat reported last week.
"This has been a long time coming. Whoever runs it, whether it's SMART or if we contract with someone, businesses are now going to have a chance to send their goods by rail and get some (trucks) off the road," said Marin County Supervisor Judy Arnold, a SMART board member, in the news article.
Under the plan, the insolvent state agency known as the North Coast Railroad Authority would be dissolved, ceding 21 miles of track not owned by SMART from downtown Healdsburg to the Mendocino County line to help one day complete the agency's planned 70-mile passenger line to Cloverdale.