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GUEST OPINION: SMART for the future

By DEEDEE BRIDGES and MARGY ELLER

For more than 20 years, the Leagues of Women Voters of Marin and Sonoma Counties have been among the strongest supporters of SMART.

DeeDee Bridges

We actively supported and campaigned for all of the proposed transit sales-tax measures since 1990, culminating in the successful 2008 tax measure.

Both leagues remain strongly committed to SMART as the key component to the North Bay’s multi-modal transportation system.

This commitment to SMART is based on the leagues’ transportation positions that specifically support the preservation of the railroad right of way as a public-transit corridor that would reduce the dependence upon the automobile and improve compliance with regional air quality standards.

Margy Eller

The future of North Bay travel cannot be the car alone because of the congestion and pollution it continues to inflict on our environment and our citizens.

Instead, as our positions state, the future is regional and multimodal and includes train, bike and bus. SMART is integral to this plan, and its integration of a bike and walking trail provides benefits to a greater number of North Bay residents than just train riders.

We have no doubt that related transportation options will arise in the future, especially as the inter-county commutes are only going to grow and there is no expectation that the price of gas will drop to its previous lower levels.

The timing of the passage of the sales tax with the onset and continuation of the Great Recession nationwide, and the subsequent reduction of revenues from the tax and federal and state sources is unfortunate. The cutbacks SMART has been forced to make to the original plan passed by the voters in 2008 have been the result, as has occurred in similar projects throughout the country.

Phasing the implementation of the rail line is the only way to preserve the project for its key role in our future.

That should be the top priority of the SMART board, and that is what it is doing by ensuring the route from Santa Rosa to San Rafael is implemented as the first phase of the project.

The goal of SMART hasn’t changed, but the timing has. For that reason we believe that, after years of planning, the SMART solution remains the “train to the future.”

Despite the current financial setbacks, we continue to believe that it is.

DeeDee Bridges is president of the League of Women Voters of Sonoma County. Margy Eller is president of the League of Women Voters of Marin County.





44 Responses to “GUEST OPINION: SMART for the future”

  1. CG says:

    So – as it comes to pass -

    40,000 new people in the counties.

    Even if 1/3 ride the train – that’s 13,000 people – TEN times the SMART projections.

    That leaves 2/3rds or 26,000 people who DON’T use the train – Either they will stay home or go to work in a CAR.

    20,000 more CARS on the 101 – Courtesy of SMART and MTC and ABAG -

    Blowing the heck out of Judy Arnold’s, Al Boro’s, Philips’ and Gerald Huffman’s phony support – in that it will lessen the number of cars on the highway.

    How can anybody have not seen the big picture?

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  2. Clay for County Supervisor says:

    I hope it’s true and I hope he lives in the First or Third District, since those District Supervisors are on the SMART Board and have led this effort to build half a train. Think about the possibilities. A Supervisor that does his research and factually addresses issues. What would that be like in Sonoma County?

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  3. @Eric-

    What are you talking about? You claim to present facts, then write nonsense.

    I haven’t yet heard about this run at political office that I’m going to take- do tell! Sounds exciting.

    Oh, and just in case you weren’t aware, Parks and Rec Commissioners are not elected, they are appointed… so no big run there!

    And need I remind you- John started this thing, not me. I just enthusiastically joined in.

    You say “SMART GM Mansourian has repeatedly stated that the mandate to build out the line is still in place and that he is committed to seeing it through.”

    SMART GM Mansourian also claimed that he had a preliminary agreement with the freight guys to shut down operations during the years of construction- turns out that the freight guys and their attorneys didn’t know anything about it.

    SMART GM Mansourian also claimed in June to know nothing about a $35M cost overrun, but documents from MTC showed that SMART staff had (several weeks prior) sent over a revised project estimate with…. wait for it…. a $35M cost overrun. Of course, the lower version was the “public” version (and was labeled as such), with the higher cost version to be kept close to the vest.

    So at this point, I’m a little wary of taking things that SMART GM Mansourian says without verifying them first.

    So this is great news Eric- they are building the entire project. When exactly will it be done? And just how much will it cost? And where is the money coming for the rest of the project?

    Let me address your misguided statement about the bonding costs. There would have been minimal increase in bonding costs if one of the following had occurred:

    A. SMART had listened to their CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER (the one they just fired) and waited until the election ran it’s course… which loses them very little, since they have to escrow bond proceeds anyway.

    or

    B. The SMART Board had properly and promptly called this election on their own, as was suggested repeatedly.

    It was SMART’s political decisions that increased the bonding costs, and for them to try to blame us for it demonstrates the continuing pattern of disregard for cost to taxpayers, and a seeming inability to acknowledge mistakes and shortcomings or take responsibility of words and actions.

    The talking point about a project completed in stages is tired- if that was how it was planned, then no problem. But that is not what was presented or voted on- hence the need for a new vote.

    This train is wrecking just fine without us. We simply seek to address those failings sooner rather than later- before they waste some serious money.

    Your protestations notwithstanding, we intend to let the people have their say about about this, and will do so in the manner that is most expeditious and least costly for the taxpayer.

    I hope that SMART is committed to the same thing- so far, they have not shown themselves to be.

    Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5

  4. Steveguy says:

    What is all the Tea Party vitriol ?

    I am pro-life, I don’t care what gay people do, they can even suffer marriage like the rest of us. I wish more Govt money was spent on mental health and the disabled.

    I can also see numbers, and the SMART farce does not add up.

    As for Tea Party, I do like Earl Gray sun tea on the 4th of July. Yet am I opposed to the SMART $$$$$$$$ drain. Go figure.

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5

  5. Ricardo Sorentino says:

    Another not-so-smart train? Another financial boondoggle? Another concept that looks better on paper, with the idea of make the taxpayer’s pay, no matter what?

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-high-speed-money-20111123,0,3164155.story

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  6. Eric Newman says:

    Let’s get the facts on the table. The RepealSMART campaign has already cost the taxpayers $17 million dollars, for an ideological hobby-horse crusade by a man trying to raise his public profile for a run at political office. Clay Mitchell just put an extra $17 million dollars in the hands of some Wall Street hedge fund manager’s pocket so he could get some publicity. Bad deal for the rest of us.

    Their primary contention is a flat-out lie, which they hope to solidify into an accepted public position through repetition. Thye keep talking about “half a train” which was not what they voted for. That is utter rubbish. SMART GM Mansourian has repeatedly stated that the mandate to build out the line is still in place and that he is committed to seeing it through.

    We all know that the project is being staged, as is typical for large public works projects. The “Big Lie” that they keep trying to foist off on the public is that they are representing the taxpayer’s interests by causing this trainwreck. It might be amusing if they were not costing us so much money already.

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  7. RAW says:

    It does not matter what it costs. It is all about bragging rights. They can go to their League of Cities or Counties and claim the train. No one will ride it, very few, but that does not matter. It must be built to create more gov’t jobs, high paying administration jobs. Don’t you get it? If they don’t build it, they won’t be able to raise taxes and be forced to pay for it. They have to keep it alive to expand and spend. If they don’t spend, they will wither and die.

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  8. Cram Grebsivlas says:

    This changes everything.
    MTC mandated average 2200 housing units w/in 1/4 or 1/2 mile of each of 14 train stations…..
    That’s 30,800 housing units clustered around the stations.
    That’s 40,000 to 50,000 more people in Marin and Sonoma counties, right along 101.
    If as many as 1/3 of these NEW people actually use the train, it still leaves 26,000 to 33,500 more commuters in their cars on the highway.
    Even if my assumptions are off by 50%? That’s 13,000 to 16,750 more cars on the road, every day.
    SMART is an absolute bust for traffic when MTC required thousands and thousands of NEW housing units are built.
    MTC’s published stated goal is to short people on parking and make it as inconvenient and expensive as possible to use their cars in order to force them to join the masses and depend on the government controlled transportation system.
    You know? $500 million of taxpayer SMART money could buy 2000 clean running, flex fuel, hybrid, luxury buses. Eliminating the need for the feeder buses that SMART will spring on us later.
    And eliminate the massive population increase mandated by the MTC vision of what life should be like for you and me.

    Thumb up 14 Thumb down 7

  9. Social Dis-Ease says:

    I’m against Smart and I’m not a teapartier.
    I like tea.
    I like to party.

    I just don’t like oppression.

    Thumb up 12 Thumb down 7

  10. David says:

    “even after all the evidence on these boards that it is a Tea Party effort through and through”

    I could accuse all of the pro smart people on this board of being shills for Lisa Maldonado and her cohorts.

    Accusations without proof are not facts, try again.

    If you could provide any evidence that the train makes financial sense or would remove more than a couple of hundred cars from Hwy 101, I would be in favor.

    If you don’t have the facts on your side throw some mud, if that doesn’t work, throw more mud.

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  11. Graeme Wellington says:

    $86,000 per person per year – forever. And that is only if SMARTs projections are true. If the cost overruns are like every other LRT system, such as Charlotte… That number will be $250,000 per person per year. The reality of this insanity is so great -total and complete and willful ignorance is required to actually support SMART.

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  12. Audrey Sanderson says:

    The Tea Party obsession with bringing our country to it’s needs is blighting the economic landscape on a national as well as local level. One can see from the “Super Committee” failure to the attacks on high speed rail and now on SMART that these folks want our country and our president to fail and don’t care how many people and jobs they destroy to do it. I have family in construction who are losing homes because they have been unemployed or underemployed for over three years. We need projects like SMART for a variety of reasons but the fact that they are a local jobs creator is a big one. No Repeal!

    Thumb up 5 Thumb down 17

  13. John Parnell says:

    George Johnson & Amalia Ramirez – You two are quite hilarious & obviously read from the same talking points of someone who has a beef with a few of our volunteers. It’s funny how you are trying to make a non-partisan public works project mismanaged by non-partisan unelected officials into a partisan battle.

    I have no reason to lie about my beliefs. Did you call President Obama a tea party liar when he described himself as a “tax & spend liberal” last year? I don’t mind paying taxes for projects that make sense, but I don’t think this one does anymore. Would it make you feel better if I described myself as a “tax & spend wisely, but don’t waste our money on bait & switch projects” Democrat?

    More importantly, instead of slinging mud, can you defend this current SMART project & not the pipe-dream concept we voted for in 2008?

    The SMART concept is not the same as the SMART reality, and because of this, I feel that the people deserve a chance to vote to reaffirm this project, now that we’re only going to get a Half Train. Why don’t you? Don’t you believe in democracy?

    Thumb up 14 Thumb down 6

  14. Kirstin says:

    Some more Lisa Maldonado pals with the same crib notes have arrived. Please, George and Amalia, did you bother to read any of the many facts Clay Mitchell, John Parnell and others of RepealSMART have laid out in these threads? If not, do. There really are very compelling reasons for returning the question of SMART public funding to the electorare.

    Thumb up 15 Thumb down 8

  15. George Johnson says:

    @Parnell No real liberal would ever call themselves a “Tax and Spend” liberal. Thats right wing republican jargon. You might want to rethink the whole “Repeal Smart is a non partisan group” lie. It’s pretty obvious from your own posts and the Tea Partiers on this site that the only folks opposing SMART are the Sore Losers of the Tea Party. Even the business alliance supports SMART.

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 18

  16. Amalia Ramirez says:

    If Mr Parnell continues to lie about his “non partisan” Repeal Smart organization, even after all the evidence on these boards that it is a Tea Party effort through and through, then why should voters believe anythng he says about SMART?
    Stop insulting our intelligence, we can see that your office is the Tea Party headquarters of Jim Judd and your advocates “Kristin”, “Joyce”, etc are the same rabid Tea Partiers tweeting on the WSC page for KRSH (the local Tea Party) Why keep lying to the public Mr Parnell?It makes everyting you say about SMART suspect and It doesn’t do your repeal any favors.

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 19

  17. Funny Fish says:

    We need a League of Men Voters to bring a logical evaluative process to these important issues. Wishy washy, hopeful, feeling good with fuzziness has produced sound management decisions.

    If all Sonoma County residents paid the tax why is that the Santa Rosa to Ran Rafael section be built first.If there are no funds after that the residents north of Santa Rosa could be paying for luxury of the choosen few.

    Name one area in the country that where a train service was introduced actually reduced auto traffic, pollution and global warming.REPEAL SMART ASAP.

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  18. John Parnell says:

    @Jay – And just in case you haven’t heard, RepealSMART is non-partisan. We have volunteers who are democratic, republican, independent, libertarian & green – but we as an organization are strictly non-partisan. These tea party accusations are flat out wrong.

    Many of us at RepealSMART voted for the project, and are tax & spend environmentalist liberals. If you make these false accusations, I think it might cast doubt to anything else you say.

    Thumb up 20 Thumb down 12

  19. John Parnell says:

    RepealSMART has not been making arguments for years, because we are only a year old. I voted for the SMART concept, and I still support the concept we were sold – but I don’t support the SMART reality, which is why I formed RepealSMART.

    Our principle argument is this:

    Since the SMART project has changed so drastically, and we are now going to get less than half the project we approved in 2008, then the people have the right to ratify this project.

    I don’t know why anyone would have a problem with this. There is no current mandate for SMART – 69.5% of the people did not vote to build less than 50% of the project at a higher cost than the original plan. Let the people give this project the vote of confidence some think that it deserves. It is our money, so we should have that chance.

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  20. John Beach says:

    Giving Mr. Mansourian a $70,000 yearly raise over his predecessor, while the counties and state are in the worst recession in decades, gave the opposition more ammunition. As a politician, he must know that sort of fiscal extravagance evokes a negative emotional response from many of the detractors, as well as those who aren’t sure. This is as much a political war as a practical one. He could defuse that fiscal insult by proposing and accepting a salary below that of his predecessor. Without that, he supports the view that he is feathering his retirement nest at the expense of the county taxpayers. If he cannot accept the fiscal reality of the taxpayers, then he may not get to build a transit system.

    Thumb up 17 Thumb down 9

  21. Jay Behr says:

    Here’s where you can go to get the real facts on why the SMART project needs to move forward. Some readers who have not been through the mill with the previous campaigns might need some background. We’ve all heard the RepealSMART arguments for years, and have decisively dismissed them, but we recognize that the general public will need to see for themselves. This is the site:

    SMARTriders.wordpress.com

    In 2008, the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) Train and Pathway project was passed by voters of Marin and Sonoma Counties in a landslide victory, with 69.5% of voters supporting SMART Measure Q. Marin and Sonoma County voters understand that clean, green alternatives to the 4th most congested freeway corridor in the San Francisco Bay Area is a must. This Protect SMART website is the online voice of the Coalition to Protect SMART as part of its effort to provide the public with information about SMART and to shed light on the misinformation being put forth by Tea Party-inspired/anti-rail opponents of this deeply needed job-creating public train/bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure project.

    Marin and Sonoma County voters continue to strongly support SMART because:
    1.The SMART Train and Pathway will displace traffic from Marin and Sonoma roadways, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful pollutants. As gas prices soar, more people will ride the SMART train and use the bicycle/pedestrian pathway- this trend has been growing around the US for several years.
    2. SMART will begin constructing the first phase of the project, from San Rafael to Santa Rosa, in 2012. The line to Cloverdale to the North and Larkspur to the South will be completed as SMART raises funds from other sources. SMART has an $18 million grant pending for the SMART pathway. SMART will be built segment by segment‐‐ just like all major transportation projects.
    3.SMART is the only way to avoid traffic congestion on Highway 101. Highway 101 cannot be widened further without taking many residential and commercial properties. That’s an unpopular and virtually impossible prospect.
    4. The SMART Train will transport passengers efficiently to stations along the 101 corridor. From there, you can bike, bus, walk or take a shuttle to your destination. SMART plans shuttle buses to Larkspur, Windsor, Healdsburg, and Cloverdale until the full train line and pathway are built.
    5.The SMART pathway will provide a way for people to get to SMART stations, to shopping centers, recreational center and between communities. It will also provide many connectors allowing children to get to school and to recreational and sporting events safely.
    6. SMART will create 900 desperately needed jobs over the coming year- SMART is our local economic stimulus project.
    7. SMART has already built segments of the pathway with more segments coming online over the next two years. The SMART Board & staff consider this visionary pathway integral to the project, and they are committed to completing significant portions by the start of train operations.

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  22. James M says:

    How can the project be described as “Phased” if all the projected revenue is being spent on the first half, with nothing left to finish it? That seems obviously a half project to me! Where is the money to finish it going to come from – higher taxes?
    Please explain and then let the voters decide – if they support this half project, then go right ahead.

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  23. Chris says:

    “We actively supported and campaigned for all of the proposed tax increase measures since 1990″

    Fixed

    Thumb up 14 Thumb down 8

  24. Steveguy says:

    Even if the economy has ‘tanked’, it does not even come close to the over-budget, over-estimation that SMART proposed.

    The money was never there, even if still a boom.

    More lies.

    Thumb up 25 Thumb down 9

  25. Chris Snyder says:

    Great piece. I can’t wait to see men and women working out there building the line in the next few months. This whole anti-SMART thing is just costing taxpayers money by driving up the cost of bonds. $17 million dollars and counting…imgaine how many more people we could put back to work. This is a legacy type project like BART and the Golden Gate Bridge that will take the North Bay into the future.

    Thumb up 15 Thumb down 26

  26. Just Saying says:

    The Multi-Modal Board are calling in all of their chips in an effort to save their multi-modal train for the future.

    They gave the ladies of the league the script to read and the two ladies played their part explaining the multi-modal train to the future.

    By the way, where do people learn to talk that way in Sonoma County?

    Santa Rosa city officials talk about collaborative, consensus,hand washing stations, etc. The occupiers talk about appalling injustices, consensus, civil disobedience and now added to the Sonoma County play of the absurb, comprehensive multi-modal train to the future.

    There must be an underground progressive school for word play hidden away in the bowels of the county. Normal people don’t talk this way.

    One wonders if Dee Dee and Margy got on their bikes and rode back to their respective homes after submitting their sermon the PD since the train to the future was not available to give them a lift home.

    Stop the lunacy, repeal SMART or the multi-modal future as the league and their masters at the SMART Board see it.

    Thumb up 28 Thumb down 13

  27. Jim says:

    These “gust opinions” are merely advertisements. None have ever had any real knowledge of the situation. This one is just a continuation of the same theme. Pro-SMART, without any real information.

    “End dependence on the automobile”??
    “Improve compliance with regional air quality standards”?

    That is just fluff. Political rhetoric from a political organization. Anyone with a brain can see, and you can see from the comments to this “opinion”, that somehow this site was paid off by the SMART supporters to use this left-wing organization to print a fluff piece.

    How about bringing on real opinions, from those who actually pay taxes? How about an opinion that isn’t for a left-wing policy/program/project? Is the 100% left-wing opinions part of a political agenda from this site? Probably.

    Thumb up 28 Thumb down 13

  28. Lets be Reasonable says:

    Yes, it’s too bad the economy tanked and the revenue from the taxes will not be enough. Yes, there seem to have been behind the scenes deals made, and it is troubling that Heath left under hidden circumstances and the salaries are high.
    .
    But the train is still a good idea. First off, this train is not about commuting to SF. Most folks on 101 are not going to SF either. Instead, they are going from one or two towns down the road. Sonoma and Marin were built along the old railroad. Development occurred at the stations. Growth will continue in Sonoma and northern Marin, the question is where. It has slowed with the great recession, but it will start up again once the economy picks up. Should we fill up the spaces in between towns? Or will we put more into the existing towns? I for one would rather protect the scenic beauty of the countryside, and would rather increase the density in the existing towns. If you increase size by say 10%, then you need to add infrastructure to support it. If you compare the cost of increasing the road network by 10% and compare that to what the train will cost, then the train is a bargain. We will see the growth locating around the stations, as well as new businesses – All without the need for 10% more cars on our roads. Instead of growing our towns out, lets grow them up. Funds for additional track will come from grants targeted towards non-road projects. Even this short bit of track between San Rafael and Santa Rosa will be good for both towns, as well as the communities in between. Santa Rosa used to be on three different rail lines, and we had a number of street trolleys as well. This critical piece of infrastructure will provide jobs and lead to economic growth in our area. The train is still a good idea.

    Thumb up 12 Thumb down 28

  29. Alex says:

    If you cannot get me to SF in less than an hour…you are wasting my time..bottom line

    Thumb up 26 Thumb down 12

  30. Engineer says:

    Anyone who has followed the League’s studies of Bay Area transportation issues knows that their members do their homework and weigh the pros and cons. They know how costly it is to add pavement and parking to the existing road network. They know the environmental costs of more automobiles, and the economic advantages of improved mobility. When they decide that the benefits of SMART outweigh its costs, it behooves us to listen.

    Thumb up 10 Thumb down 28

  31. John Parnell says:

    I am shocked that an organization that is all about voting would support a group which just blatantly broke our state election law.

    Thumb up 29 Thumb down 11

  32. Comments From The Street says:

    The ladies of the league need to stick to things they think they know about like getting democrats elected.

    They drank the kool-aid along time ago. They haven’t kept up to date on SMART happenings. The bike and walking trail is pretty much in the tank. The train will not be running from the redwoods to the bay. It is millions in debt and borrowing millions to keep the dream alive.

    We cannot afford it and the tax money being spend on this boondoggle needs to be spent on basic services, not dreams of an unaffordable dinosaur.

    Thumb up 28 Thumb down 12

  33. sports fan says:

    I always wanted to believe SMART women made decisions based on sound fiscal principles. These women are lacking common sense and are living in a dillusional utopia. Just like the majority of the California legislature which continues to think they can tax their way to prosperity.

    Thumb up 27 Thumb down 10

  34. Joyce Garcia says:

    “This commitment to SMART is based on the leagues’ transportation positions that specifically support the preservation of the railroad right of way as a public-transit corridor that would reduce the dependence upon the automobile and improve compliance with regional air quality standards.”

    This says it all! Their commitment is to SMART, the league, anti automobile and they are making up all the quality standards so they can do what they want.

    The SMART board is busier than a centipede in a toe counting contest!

    Thumb up 27 Thumb down 10

  35. The Hammer says:

    What is their background for expertise on these matters?

    Thumb up 17 Thumb down 8

  36. John Lennon says:

    None of these people commute or will commute on the train.

    The new smart train is designed to fail and will not do the job. Nobody in their right mind will spend 3 hours to get to their job and 3 hours back.

    The only people that support this are corrupt union officials and employees and weekend cyclists

    Thumb up 24 Thumb down 10

  37. I am really growing tired of this myth about the slow economy causing SMART’s problems. Almost as if it was a talking point that SMART was feeding to its supporters… but they wouldn’t do that, would they? ;)

    Let’s review why this logic fails one more time.

    In a down economy, costs go down. Labor costs are down with the soft job market. Real Estate prices are down. Interest rates are down. The DMU rail cars came in way cheaper than expected. So far, on the minor contracts that they have awarded, the contracts are coming in about 20% under estimates.

    So how on earth does one explain being more than 30% over budget? Given the economy, the costs should have dropped along side the revenues, and we should have still been able to afford what was promised (more or less).

    For these ladies to repeat that line as if it somehow makes sense is really unfortunate- it is a discredit to their critical thinking abilities, I’m sorry to say.

    Just for fun, I took a look at the SoCo LWV Website, and this is their stated position on transportation-

    “We regard provision of an integrated, efficient, multimodal, cost effective public transportation network as an important responsibility of local and regional government.

    “We believe that the true cost of transportation should be made known and that local tax money should be used to reduce traffic congestion without incurring indebtedness. A variety of funding methods are appropriate including general funds, sales tax revenues and private sources such developers’ fees. The funds generated should be spent on the most cost effective traffic reduction projects.”

    What? Integrated? Cost effective? This one is a kicker: “We believe that the true cost of transportation should be made known and that local tax money should be used to reduce traffic congestion without incurring indebtedness.”

    Imagine when they find out that this project doesn’t reduce traffic congestion in any meaningful way- and by that I mean that it is forecast to reduce traffic by 1/3 of 1%. Yikes!

    This is not a principled stand- this is a political play. I’m disappointed that the League would bow to the political pressure….. unless they are a willing participant, which is even more concerning.

    Thumb up 25 Thumb down 12

  38. Kirstin says:

    The League of Women Voters is supposed to be a nonpartisan organization. It says so right at the top of the Sonoma League’s website: http://www.lwvsonoma.org/. The national website also makes that plain on its “About” page: http://www.lwv.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=About_Us.

    Needless to say, this isn’t a nonpartisan opinion piece.

    Thumb up 23 Thumb down 10

  39. Steve Klausner says:

    “multimodal”? Well SMART is all of that! You can drive your car to catch the shuttle to ride the train to San Rafael, where there’s a bus that will take you to within a couple of miles of where you work which you can walk to. And then in the evening do it all again but in reverse. What’s not to like?

    Thumb up 42 Thumb down 13

  40. homegirl says:

    As a person who would be delighted to see some form of fast, reliable public transportation along the 101 corridor directly to San Francisco I am sorely disappointed by the public face of the SMART board.
    Presently, I, like many others, perceive the program as a 30 year tenure at high pay and benefits and then a pension for the participants on the board.
    Switching from a train to a small bus/van then a ferry to get to San Francisco certainly does not qualify as high speed, reliable public transportation!
    Better that the right of way would accomodate electric buses and utilize a HOV lane across the GG Bridge, cheaper, too.

    Thumb up 51 Thumb down 13

  41. Wilson says:

    I generally hold the League of Women Voters in high regard. Not here. They need to take off their rose-colored glasses and look at the whole picture.

    “Phasing the implementation of the rail line” is all well and good. But there has to be some sort of plan to finish the joband way to finance it. There isn’t and that’s part of what bothers me.

    And the LWV should be outraged by sociopathy and the absense of transparency in actions made by the un-SMART Board. The support by the LWV of this project is a support of those heinous actions of the un-SMART Board. You can’t have one without the other. The LWV needs to wake up and smell the coffee.

    Thumb up 50 Thumb down 15

  42. Graeme Wellington says:

    Again, the SMART supports believe in a dream version of SMART.

    The project being built cannot affect the commute because commuters cannot use it to commute. It takes too long and does not go to or from where commuters need to go to and from.

    And what about the perpetual and crushing tax burden of $86,000 per passenger per year to keep SMART operational?

    The SMART supporters need to examine reality and stop believing in a dream version of the SMART train.

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  43. Skippy says:

    This SMART train will go great with my Hybrid! Does it make my debt look big?
    Ladies, please enter the real world where the taxpayers live.
    Just because the League is and has been a shamelessly liberal group for decades, there is no reason to write this dishonest article like a pair of enthusiastic high school juniors.
    You gals know as well as we how this trophy train will cost millions annually and will never pay for even 10% of its operating costs.
    Wishing and hoping will not make it work.
    An escalator to the moon sounds swell too, as long as I don’t have to pay for it.
    Please stop lying to us just to support this sweet fantasy dream you cherish so.

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  44. Steveguy says:

    I am supposing that they also believe that money grows on trees, and the future generations will have magic money. No facts, just a ‘feel good’ SMART promotion piece. I prefer facts over emotions.

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