By BOB NORBERG
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is delaying a key vote that would provide $21 million in funds for the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Agency.
The commission had scheduled the vote for Wednesday but is delaying it until September in light of new cost and revenue estimates developed by the rail agency staff.
In a report released Friday, SMART now estimates that costs have risen to $385 million, but with cost-saving measures and new revenue estimates, the line from Santa Rosa to San Rafael would still be fully funded.
SMART staff also believes that the time it will take to get the necessary regional, state and federal permits to work in waterways will delay the construction and the start of service a year.
The MTC was set to vote on a funding package that includes $10 million from MTC, $8 million from the Transportation Authority of Marin and $3 million from the Sonoma County Transportation Authority and reallocates to SMART $23 million in Bay Area toll bridge funds.