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Healdsburg laments SMART train delay

Still, Healdsburg City Council supports rail authority plan to stagger construction

By CLARK MASON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Healdsburg City Council members said Monday they are disappointed that passenger train service to town will be delayed, but they understand the financial reality behind the decision.

Instead of criticizing the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit district for scaling back construction of the 70-mile rail line, the council was supportive of its action.

“It’s unfortunate it’s not covering the whole way, but it’s moving forward,” said Councilman Tom Chambers, echoing the conclusion of his colleagues. “It may not be the best, but it’s important that something gets built.”

Mayor Jim Wood, who requested the topic be put on the agenda, kicked off the discussion Monday by saying he was surprised and “bothered” by SMART’s decision 10 days ago.

He said delaying train service to northern Sonoma County irked citizens in Windsor and Cloverdale, too.

“I voted for a project that would go from Cloverdale to Larkspur, not a project from Santa Rosa to the Marin Civic Center,” Wood said.

But facing a $350 million funding gap, SMART directors decided to operate an initial line between Railroad Square in Santa Rosa and the Marin Civic Center, delaying extensions to Cloverdale and Larkspur. Trains are still scheduled to start running in 2014.

The 40-mile line is 30 miles shorter than promised in 2008, when voters approved a quarter-cent sales tax hike to help pay for commuter trains and an accompanying bike path.

Prior to the meeting, Wood said “the decrease in sales tax isn’t something that happened overnight. Surely the people in charge knew this was happening. I’m surprised that it seems to have taken this long to come to some sort of solution.”

But during the council discussion, the tone was more understanding.

Councilman Gary Plass said when citizens voted for the train line, they couldn’t foresee the economy’s tremendous downturn.

“Although I’m upset it’s not going to cover the whole trail in the beginning, you have to understand what the (SMART) board is going through,” he said. “They don’t have the money.”

“I would not oppose the decision they made,” said Councilman Eric Ziedrich, adding, “I have to plug my nose when I say that.”

SMART directors said the struggling economy reduced revenues, shrunk bonding capacity and forced changes in the construction schedule. They are still committed to building the entire line but estimate that will take until 2016 or 2018.

Until full train service is available, SMART said, it plans to provide bus service from train stations to Larkspur and Cloverdale. The agency also said it will run some trains north to Cloverdale at slow speeds over a lower grade track.

Council members said Monday the stubborn economy may delay full train service even longer than anticipated.

They suggested SMART consider delaying construction of the bicycle and pedestrian path if that will help trains run all the way north.

The only member of the public who spoke Monday appeared to agree. “Cut it down to bare bones and get it going,” said Healdsburg resident Laura Bowman.

The council will draft a letter to SMART urging the agency also to resolve its conflicts with the North Coast Railroad Authority over use of the rail tracks so freight trains can begin running as soon as possible.





35 Responses to “Healdsburg laments SMART train delay”

  1. Train 101 says:

    It is good that Healdsburg is being supportive of the SMART train. No one could foresee the economy crashing so hard. And as cherie maria said, any public transportation is a step in the right direction for Northern California’s growing population.

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  2. NOTUTOO says:

    The Golden Gate bridge was payed off in 1975 but they keep raising the toll. Thats what they do. We will continue to subsidize SMART for it’s entire existence. You can count on it, literally.

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  3. Ricardo Sorentino says:

    RE: Frank / “anybody hear from Bart lately?”

    Funny you should mention this: As a kid, I remember living in the east bay when BART was first designed and built, in part from a quarter percent sales tax that was to be for a specific period of time. Of course, we all know that 30 years later, that sales tax is still in place.

    SMART will only exist to serve the few by taxing all of us, forever. Sadly, SMART will never come close to the ridership, so we can all expect to pay at least half a percent, or more, in sales tax, just so we can say we’ve got a train to nowhere, going nowhere, but wow! are we ever PC.

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  4. BigDogatlPlay says:

    Kay Tokerud said

    <
    They wanted it so developers could acquire cheap land along the tracks and build high density (high profit) housing along its entire length. That housing was then supposed to provide the people who would ride the train. Most property along the tracks qualifies as legally blighted and is or will be made into redevelopment areas. Those areas are then eligible to receive subsidies that come from property taxes that are created by the new development and retained by the redevelopment agencies for several decades. A perfect plan or so they thought. Then the recession came.

    EXACTLY!!!! It really is about a land / power / money grab for the chosen developers who've gotten into the vest pockets of the SMART board. This is why I've turned so adamantly against the project that made sense in original concept.

    The district and it's service, assuming it ever gets off the ground, can never break even at the fare box. No public transportation system can. It will require massive and ongoing subsidies to operate and will serve two counties that seem to have no interest in growing good paying, white collar jobs of the type that would attract people who would want to live in the (doubtlessly subsidized) crackerboxes to be built along the right of way.

    It's a land deal folks… that some developers are going to get wealthy off of, while we pay and pay and pay and pay.

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  5. Kay Tokerud says:

    @Billy C Thanks for asking. I found out the hard way too about redevelopment shortly after I bought property in Santa Rosa that was in the proposed project area. My partner was elected to the project area committee for Gateways and I attended all their meetings too. Over half the committee was stacked with redevelopment proponents but nevertheless they ended up voting against the project. The City Council overruled them and approved the project in 2006.

    In the meantime, a group of business property owners formed the Santa Rosa Area Business Association. We published and distributed newsletters, held meetings and spoke out at city meetings. We ultimately filed a lawsuit to stop the project. We finally lost that case on appeal 3 years later. It shaved 3 years off the 12 year period in which they could acquire property through eminent domain.

    We did an enormous amount of research and met lots of other people who shared our concerns in the process. While Gateways is just one of many redevelopment areas, the processes used by the cities are the same. Our lawsuit was based on the fact that the information used to declare the area blighted was seriously flawed. We were stunned that the courts didn’t seem to care about this and glossed over it.

    We’ve been closely following the politics in Santa Rosa for over 5 years now and its been a pretty wild ride and has had its ups and downs. Because of our fearless and relentless efforts at challenging the City’s plans we’ve been repeatedly trashed by the PD and a few redevelopment booster groups.

    Some of our detractors don’t even take the time to understand what is going on yet oppose anyone who doesn’t share their agenda. They just blindly accept the rhetoric that makes things like redevelopment and Station Area plans possible.

    We did all we could to help people like you who have now had their property rights reduced and property devalued. Redevelopment proponents don’t care and will accuse you of being a greedy property speculator or slumlord or whatever names then can assign to you if you raise concerns.

    We didn’t come to Santa Rosa for a fight but when the City runs roughshod over peoples’ property rights and is abusive something needs to be done. Although it’s gotten ugly at times I have never regretted standing up to them and spreading the truth about what they are doing to people like you who are just trying to make an honest living and support your families. Please visit us by contacting the
    Santa Rosa Neighborhood Coalition website (click on my name above).

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  6. Frank says:

    anybody hear from Bart lately?
    I hear Bart is running smoothly, board memebers get there six figure income, with the continued increase of fares everybody is happy

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  7. cherie maria says:

    So based on all the arguments going back and forth I’ll ask the question:

    Anyone else sat in traffic for over half an hour on the 101?

    That is a daily reality for most of us.

    So in 20 years will there be less people living in Sonoma County or more people living in here?

    There is no one size fits all solution here, we’ve got limited resources that will continue to go up in price as they become more scarce. We’ve got increasing population, and the need to accommodate these two facts.

    The Train is one solution, buses and good linkage points, more commuters carpooling, making the goal to live closer to work so you can bike for most that is wishful thinking, but working from home is becoming more accepted.

    We are going to see massive transportation shifts happen in the next two decades and we can argue and counter argue till the ends of time the population will continue to grow regardless.

    So we can find traffic congestion solutions or continue to burn millions of gallons of gas sitting idle on the 101 day in and out.

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  8. UN Agenda 21 Bogeyman says:

    Be very afraid. Those earnest sustainable development folks like the ADC are really part of a vast left-wing conspiracy to end the American Way of Life as We Know It.

    The Tea Party Targets… Sustainable Development?

    If you believe conservative activists, smart growth is really a global conspiracy to herd Americans into “human habitation zones.”

    First, they took on the political establishment in Congress. Now, tea partiers have trained their sights on a new and insidious target: local planning and zoning commissions, which activists believe are carrying out a global conspiracy to trample American liberties and force citizens into Orwellian “human habitation zones.”

    Check out this article:

    http://motherjones.com/politics/2010/11/tea-party-agenda-21-un-sustainable-development

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  9. Jason Valez says:

    The theory that cars cannot exist without gasoline has already been disproven. Seen any electric cars lately? Natural gas trucks? Biodiesel? Yes, they are here. So even if we’re past peak oil and I doubt that we are, there is no need to get rid of the private automoblie.

    A popular progressive recently revealed that he is against electric vehicles. He wants all private vehicles eliminated. So, for the progressives it’s really not just about the environment, it’s about reducing our mobility too.

    Why would they want to do that? The Smartgrowth plan of moving people into crowded urban villages has a companion plan called the Wildlands Project that wants to set aside most of the land in our country for habitat of plants and animals and keep people out. Their ideology places the rights of plants and animals at the same level of priority as humans.

    Rails and trails, human habitations, one planet communities, wildlife corridors, scenic easements, all of these plans have the same ideology that people must be controlled and kept out of preserved areas. Letting the county roads go was the most extreme example so far of the implementation of the smartgrowth plan. If you want to know more do some Google searches: Sustainable Development, New Urbanism, United Nations Agenda 21, ICLEI, ICLEI USA, Habitat II, Wildlands Project, Communitarianism.

    What’s communitarianism? It’s supposed to be a synthesis of individual liberties balanced with the good of the community. It’s also called the third way. With this system individual liberties are not guaranteed but may or may not be allowed by community councils as well as governmental bodies. It’s pretty scary and they’re already doing it in the European Union. We’re starting to see unelected community groups here that are trying to push their agenda. The problem with these groups is that they take no prisoners and won’t tolerate opposing views to their own. Communitarianism is a very close relative of communism and has many of the same pitfalls. Our system of individual liberty coupled with the rule of law is still the best system of governance in the world. We should do all we can to preserve and protect our system.

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  10. Billy C says:

    @ Kay

    As a property owner within the Station area plan , a member of the Redevelopment advisory committee and someone who is familiar with the ADC. I am in agreement
    with many of your opinion’s. You obviously have done some homework. What is the source of your information? I will have to admit I have been finding out about
    some of these things the hard way.

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  11. Alex says:

    I am not sure if people are born idiotic or just become that way with drinking the water…but my God, does anyone look outside of the Sonoma County to see that BART, MUNI, Golden Gate Transit, etc.etc. are always losing money and always in huge debt…which explains the $5 toll to cross the Golden Gate bridge…a bridge that not only has already been paid for numerous times over but has to subsidize public transportation. Delusional thinkers is what we have here…and years from now when there is a greater sprawl thanks to the train, people will look back and say, I remember in the day when there were hills with cows and vineyards…take a look at Livermore, Danville, Antioch…wherever the train went so did problems and crime. Simply put, more people are more problems.

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  12. Ben Boyce says:

    “SMART line is investment for next generation”

    The proponents of the SMART project conceived of the rail transit line as an investment in the future. The numbers are in. We have passed peak oil, and the days of the gas-powered auto as the primary means of transit are numbered. The whole cost equation will radically shift when gas becomes a scarce commodity in a generation fron now. Then we will all praise the wisdom of the folks who saw far enough into the future to make the SMART investment in this generation.

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  13. Kay Tokerud says:

    The train concept was flawed from the beginning. They wanted it so developers could acquire cheap land along the tracks and build high density (high profit) housing along its entire length. That housing was then supposed to provide the people who would ride the train. Most property along the tracks qualifies as legally blighted and is or will be made into redevelopment areas. Those areas are then eligible to receive subsidies that come from property taxes that are created by the new development and retained by the redevelopment agencies for several decades. A perfect plan or so they thought. Then the recession came.

    Smart proponents made many false promises. Remember the sleek energy efficient European style trains? And nothing was mentioned about the obnoxious freight service and traffic delaying grade crossings and train whistles before the vote. Of course the financials were totally skewed. It’s a known fact that trains running immediately alongside freeways don’t work, the area is already served.

    We simply don’t have the populations to support the ridership and the development will not come for many years. It was a scheme for profit takers, not for the good of the people. Kool-aid drinkers voted for it as a great green project to save the planet. In reality it will be a dirty diesel train half filled and costing us a fortune that we don’t have.

    Now our County supervisors decided that we don’t need most of our roads to be drivable and we should be restricted to only a few roads. That way they will force us out of our vehicles. Their rails and trails ideology that believes the world’s ills are caused by people driving cars will cripple our economy by removing the most effective transportation mode, automobiles. The cost of switching out of cars to bikes and trains is so astronomical that their ultimate goal must be to destroy the economy. Unfortunately, some of these idealogues that have infiltrated our government have come right out and said that we must be reduced to ashes before we can be rebuilt into some kind of green utopia. Destroying the nations’ economy in the name of being green is not the answer. Havings automobiles that are cleaner and more fuel efficient is. The Smart proponents should swallow their pride and call it quits now.

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  14. NOTUTOO says:

    If you have to get into the city as a commuter then as far as I can tell with $9.00 SMART roundtrip being the average fare plus the $9.25 round trip on the ferry, S.F. Muni is $4.00 round trip bus fare, it’ll be a minimum of $22.25 each day, so $111.25 per week or $445 per month.

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  15. Phil Maher says:

    Bruce,

    That 12% of revenue is based on project costs, which is fair, based on construction, etc… What bothers me though, is that fares are only projected to cover 36% of annual costs of operations over the 20 year study. This means that it never, ever even comes close to paying it’s own way. Well beyond the expiration of funding from Measure Q (Unrealistic annual sales tax revenue increases from 2012-2029, that are far from “conservative”), SMART is subsidized in perpetuity by a combination of primarily state funds, federal funds, Measure M funds, bonds (Again, with entirely unrealistic debt service projections), NCRA off-sets, and development/leasing fees. So yes, from the standpoint of just running the train, this squarely qualifies as a “boondoggle”. SMART will never pay for itself as purely an alternative transit system. From a value-added standpoint for the average person who is forced to pay a tax, but who probably won’t ride the train (You know, everyone besides the mere 5,500 or so projected daily riders), this makes no sense whatsoever. However, from the standpoint of being a tremendously successful real estate investment, it’s clearly a winner. Let’s not forget how the Robber-Barons made their fortunes. Just think of what they could have accomplished with the ability to tax!

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  16. bruce says:

    The fare shown in SMART financial/strategic documents mentions $4.50 average fare at the time of the document – to be adjusted annually. No estimate of ridership on any segments could be found. Timetables indicate 30 minutes apart at commute time. Fares were to represent 12% of total revenue. I believe hope the train will solve transportation problems, but will the public ride it, and how often, and at what price. I believe there will be a massive subsidy of fares to make this work. The SMART Board should answer practical consumer questions on these matters. I live in Healdsburg and would not go roundtrip to my work in Santa Rosa at $9-10 per day, versus my car or the bus, and also put up with delays and getting to and from the station. I dont’ know anyone who would ride the train on a regular basis. I voted for this measure but have serious reservations now.

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  17. NOTUTOO says:

    I can’t find any information on what the fare is going to be. Does anyone have any idea?

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  18. bruce says:

    Do you think any of the SMART Board read these public comments? Where is their accountability and leadership role in educating the public? What will the cost of a Santa Rosa-Marin Civic Center ticket be? How about the cost of the Cloverdale to Marin ticket ,or the time it will take? Will you readers herein, ride the train, regularly, if the cost is above your budget or what it would cost to go by car? Perhaps Mr. Coursey with the PR Department might answer some of these practical time and money questions of the average consumer.

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  19. Steve Klausner says:

    If what’s important is to get a train up and running as fast as possible; the rail all in place… Napa Valley Wine Train from the Marin Civic Center to St Helena, Friday through Sunday. Charge full fare!

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  20. BigDogatPlay says:

    @ Ben Boyce

    I originally supported the project. Voted for it repeatedly. I now oppose it quite simply because it looks on further analysis that we were sold a bill of goods.

    There is no guarantee that the economy is going to improve significantly, not in any real way at least, any time soon. SoCo staff is telling us that they are going to let 1500 miles of roadway in the county go unmaintained because of a lack of funds and government at all levels in California is on the edge of insolvency.

    With all that in mind SMART, which is becoming more and more expensive with each passing day, is morphing rapidly from ‘nice to have’ to luxury we can’t afford’. Particularly when the residential and commercial development forseen along the line is taken into account. On that basis, the project looks all the more like a boondoggle designed to enrich developer friends of the politicians in charge.

    Put an end to it now, and let’s come back to it when the economic picture has brightened.

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  21. Ben Boyce says:

    “SMART did not cause the Great Recession”

    How short our historical memory is. Just a short time back, the projections for revenue based on a level of economic activity that seemed like a constant would have funded the contruction of the rail line. let’s not forget that we all took about a 40% hit to our investments and the economy has been on life support over the last couple of years. Of course the numbers look worse now. That was not caused by SMART or any other local governmental entities, despite all the propaganda to that effect in the election.

    Had the previous SMART measure passed in 2006, we would have been in a much stronger position now. The same naysayers that are now criticizing the project contributed to that previous defeat, and have substantially raised the costs and the time-line for completion. That’s a fact.

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  22. bruce abramson says:

    I voted for the train based on positive projections for the finances, operations, and ridership. Like many now, I feel somewhat deceived with the lack of accountability, transparency, and wishful thinking on the part of the Board. I think financial staff/individuals who provided these projections should be demoted or fired. In the private sector, heads would roll. This no-win train from Santa Rosa to the Marin Center will likely have few riders and invite further scorn on the Board. Maybe a watchdog committee should be formed to oversee the SMART Board. Boondoggle, fiasco, these are terms I am now unfortunately beginning to think of with this SMART Board and its half-a-loaf resources.

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  23. NOTUTOO says:

    @Willard Richards… Thats because 101 benefits everybody, directly and indirectly…A train to Marin, Really? I wish thay would post the price of the tickets. I bet we’re all going to go nuts, pro or con…

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  24. Barbara Moulton says:

    SMART is doing the prudent and practical thing to get started building the train a.s.a.p. while construction costs may be lower and to get the project going. By starting in the middle, including both counties, and working out toward the ends, phase I will capture the bulk of the projected ridership. It also may give SMART & Golden Gate Bridge District the chance to improve on the design of the connection between the train and the ferry in Larkspur. And the phasing expands funding options. It’s a smart plan.

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  25. Tom says:

    Why can’t SMART start in Cloverdale and refurbish the line going south. Why start in Marin who at first rejected the idea. Starting in Cloverdale would be more beneficial for the following reasons:

    1. Rural are would be less expense to fix rail lines.
    2. There would be less infrastructure to deal with as there are less stations to refurbish.
    3. Cloverdale has supported this venture from day one and should be first to reap the benefits.
    4. SMART could work out the bugs in the system more efficiently due to less cost, fewer stations and more open area to work on the trains and tracks.

    So by starting in Cloverdale and working south SMART would make the system more cost efficient when going into the more populated areas.

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  26. Phil Maher says:

    @Denny-

    Among other issues that remain to be resolved, the voters in Marin recognized the fact that the train only offered them limited benefits, at best. At least when Larkspur was the terminus, they could have hopped the ferry (btw-the NWPR line originally went all the way to Tiburon, which made much more sense). But now, those who work in SF, or even San Rafael, go nowhere they need to be. They’re essentially dumped out at the Marin Civic Center, and then forced to get on yet another bus- basically a functional and established system that they can already board near home, then ride contiguously to their final destination, NOW. So, what happens is, they never even bother with the train, and they instead opt for a singular mode of transportation, namely, their cars, or, at best, GG Transit- both more logical, expeditious and user friendly. They pay a tax, but with absolutely no net benefit for the masses that mass transit not only is supposed to serve, but that the system needs in order to be viable.

    @Willard-

    I’m not an oil lobbyist. I doubt many, if any here, are. Based on your arguments of rising oil prices, the choice of using diesel trains also leads to problems. We risk committing to a fuel source that, according to your logic, will lead to an inevitable increase in operating costs and brings to bear a very realistic concern for obsolescence within the same time frame. Would you ask us, with a straight face, and in all honesty, to believe that in the future, there will somehow magically be a source of funding to retrofit the line to electrification (as we were promised originally)? Also, based on some of your previous comments regarding sprawl, and urban growth theories on the subject, suburbia shouldn’t, and couldn’t, even exist in the future. Human migration from the inner-city was a concept based entirely on the automobile and the development of an expansive post-war network of highway systems. Smart will certainly bring higher densities of development, but the underlying reason for people locating in Sonoma County is defeated in the process. Which leads me to my next point. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I firmly believe that part of the reason that the NCRA isn’t being given the go-ahead to begin running freight well in advance of commuter service, is that SMART is afraid that people along the line will realize that living next to a railroad of any type just isn’t a particularly nice place to be, and that when surface streets are adversely affected by traffic delays, people who have no need to really commute anywhere but down the block will join in the anti-train chorus. I’ve been there, done that, both are hugely diminishing of one’s quality of life and sanity, and neither is something I would ever consciously subject myself to again.

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  27. Michael Sheehan says:

    What are the qualifications of these people running the train into a brick wall?

    With the fiasco this project is fast becoming, let’s reanme it the Don’t Understand Money Basics (DUMB) train.

    It seems the smart officials left the station a long time ago.

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  28. Willard Richards says:

    A question for Dave Madigan: Does a City Councilmember need to have experience paving roads before managing Public Works, or experience fighting fires before managing the fire department?

    SMART long ago hired an Executive Director with experience in rail startups, who in turn has hired contractors with extensive railroad experience. The contractor responsible for the railcar selection previously built railcars. I have talked with him several times and am quite impressed with his skills and experience. His request for proposals generated a proposal to build exactly the railcars SMART wants at a cost about $20 million lower than expected.

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  29. Dave Madigan says:

    I have asked this before…I’ll ask again: Who on the “smart?” board has ever run a train system before? We have a bunch of politicians thinking that they know what they are doing. Would you hire a politician to fly you to Hawaii on a 747?

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  30. Denny Rosatti says:

    SMART is doing the fiscally prudent thing for the taxpayers- building the entire train line in phases, while aggressively pursuing additional funding sources and opportunities.

    I can’t help but reflect that if a vocal minority, mostly from Marin, hadn’t sunk the 2006 SMART measure, we’d likely be facing a different SMART line launch and reality.

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  31. Tom says:

    Once again the city council shows a lack of support for the taxpayers they are supposed to serve. The citizens of this county voted in this tax for specific purpose and it is up to the city council to support the will of the people. If they do not build the train up here as they are supposed to then give us back our tax money or stop the tax in our area. The city council should be furious with the SMART board and do everything they can to support the will of the people.

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  32. Willard Richards says:

    A few years ago when bids for widening a section of Highway 101 came in more than 30% over budget, there were no accusations of incompetence, only matter of fact statements that we will need to find the money.

    Now, a much smaller increase in SMART’s costs is generating harsh comments from people who do not understand that highways alone will not solve our mobility problems. Rail must be part of the solution.

    Mayor Jim Wood knows the answer to his criticism. SMART staff and contractors have been working to complete the engineering, which includes determining the present condition of the track and designing the work needed to bring it up to standards. SMART has clearly stated to the public it wanted more of that engineering work to be done before re-evaluating the construction timetable. That took time.

    We need BOTH passenger rail and freight. An operating agreement is essential before operations begin. Both NCRA and SMART officials discussed the status of work to complete that agreement at the October 20, 2010 SMART Board meeting. The agenda packet and meeting audio available on the SMART website show that SMART has been at least as diligent and forthcoming as the NCRA to reach this agreement. Mayor Jim Wood needs to write a letter to both SMART and the NCRA encouraging them to reach an agreement.

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  33. Clive says:

    Good to see the Healdsburg council understands it’s more about getting the train going so we can take advantage of the cheap construction environment and find outside funding for the remaining key segments. It may not be as gratifying as building the whole thing tomorrow, but seriously… how many major transportation projects don’t get built in stages using as many funding sources as possible (look at 101 and the narrows).

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  34. Graeme Wellington says:

    Is there anywhere in the United States where there is train service like this that is profitable, fully-utilized, and reaping all the claimed benefits of SMART advocates? NO!

    Why do we here in the Sonoma County have the hubris to believe that repeating the mistakes of other cities will somehow turn out differently here?

    There was an episode of the Simpsons about building a monorail that comes to mind.

    We have to repeal the law that created SMART and recall the members of the SMART board to stop this boondoggle.

    Can the various advocates championing so many lost causes in Sonoma County please pick up the torch on this cause? You’ll be saving us all hundreds of millions of dollars that would otherwise be wasted if we continue to throw money down the SMART rabbit hole.

    Recall and repeal SMART. No one is going to commute 4 hours each way on a train. The more stops, obstacles, transfers, delays, etc. is going to discourage even the most die-hard train advocates.

    John Stossel had a special where he said it would be cheaper to provide a free Prius to every commuter than to pay to build and operate the train.

    Google the Sacramento Bee’s evaluation of the “biggest boondoggle in the history of California.”

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  35. Steele says:

    Seriously?
    Anyone hear any good jokes lately?

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