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SMART gets $12.5 million to extend rail service to Airport Boulevard

By BOB NORBERG
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

A key regional transportation committee on Wednesday approved $12.5 million for Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit to rebuild the line as far north as Airport Boulevard and possibly add a new station there.

The funds were approved by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s programming and allocations committee.

On Jan. 23, the committee’s action will go to the full MTC board, which usually follows those recommendations.

“The upgraded track increases our operations for north Santa Rosa and gets the trains back and forth to the operations and maintenance facility in a timely manner,” said SMART Director Debora Fudge, a Windsor councilwoman. “It also gets us closer to the workers at the airport and halfway to Windsor.”

The MTC committee allocated $750,000 to design the project and $11.7 million for construction of the track and station. The money comes from Bay Area toll bridge revenue.

It still leaves SMART $2.5 million short of the estimated cost, according to MTC program manager Shruti Hari.

MTC is requiring that SMART make it a priority to use revenue from the quarter-cent sales tax and any savings from the ongoing construction to make up the difference.

SMART is now rebuilding track, building stations and buying rail cars, at a cost of about $360 million, to start service between Guerneville Road in Santa Rosa and downtown San Rafael in late 2015 or early 2016.

The additional funds approved Wednesday will allow SMART to rebuild the line from Guerneville Road to Airport Boulevard, where SMART is planning a $20 million operations and maintenance facility.

The track work could be completed by the time service is scheduled to start, said Farhad Mansourian, SMART general manager.

If the tracks are not rebuilt to passenger train standards, which allows speeds of 79 mph, SMART would be running trains to the maintenance facility over the existing freight line at 25 mph.

The SMART board has not approved a train station at Airport Boulevard, but the additional funds raise that possibility.

An Airport Boulevard station could serve the Charles M. Schultz-Sonoma County Airport and 6,000 workers in business parks near the airport.

“It also shows support from MTC for SMART in a direct way. It provides funding in the North Bay for transit that we normally don’t see,” Fudge said.





13 Responses to “SMART gets $12.5 million to extend rail service to Airport Boulevard”

  1. Dan Drummond Sr says:

    Yea, but first we need to pry all those SUVs out of those cold pollution producing hands!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

  2. James Bennett says:

    A legacy of oppression and debt.

    First ports shaped America, then trains, then cars.

    Going from cars to trains in most areas is like going from cell phones to phone booths again.

    Aside from all the other…baggage.

    Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  3. GAJ says:

    Where you see a legacy I see a noose.

    You do realize 100+ mpg cars and motorcycles are here already right?

    Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  4. Dan Drummond Sr says:

    Given time and high fuel costs, a winner and legacy well received by our grandchildren.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 22

  5. GAJ says:

    So Dan Drummond, I’m guessing you think that Jerry Brown’s “legacy” High Speed Rail plan is a winner as well.

    Thumb up 22 Thumb down 4

  6. Dan Drummond Sr says:

    Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him. ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 16

  7. Joe says:

    Shhhh, hear that sound, it’s the sound of that DumbDumb train black hole sucking in more and more and more…….of our money!

    The way this was sold on the ballot, was the extra tax was going to cover all expenses, now they are taking away MILLIONS from other accounts that should only be used for those purposes. Something needs to be done to stop this madness!

    Thumb up 26 Thumb down 7

  8. Jane F says:

    This will prove to be a tremendous financial boondoggle.

    It will be plagued by misappropriation of monies, cost overruns, and ultimately a failure to deliver on the final service.

    I can hardly wait to hear the excuses, see what the revised costs will be, and (if there were a competent administrative body to entertain it)enjoy a criminal investigation.

    Looking forward to it.

    Thumb up 26 Thumb down 4

  9. The Hammer says:

    Fix the roads! Am I the only one who complains about the roads. There are getting worse and I have yet to see anyone working on repairing them. I’m for taking every single penny and putting the money into fixing the roads in this county. There are the worst roads in the nation and those idiots in power continue to spend our money on their pet projects crap!

    Thumb up 27 Thumb down 4

  10. Grapevines says:

    1) SMART is Dumb

    2) Dumb is SMART

    3) We’re getting screwed

    Pick two or three out of three.

    Thumb up 19 Thumb down 4

  11. Al Lockwood says:

    You ain’t seen nothin. The utimate cost of this boondoggle will strain imagination, and that for a few trolleys that won’t make the slightest dent in 101 traffic.

    Thumb up 22 Thumb down 3

  12. RICHARD says:

    railroaded past participle, past tense of rail·road (Verb)
    Verb

    Press (someone) into doing something by rushing or coercing them.
    Cause (a measure) to be passed or approved quickly by applying pressure: “the Bill had been railroaded through.

    Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

  13. Elephant says:

    A few weeks ago it was $9.6 mil and now $12.5 mil more… all for things that the original DUMB train plan was supposed to supply.

    How many county roads could $22.1 mil fix? No, the real question is “How many county roads WON’T get fixed because of the bottomless money pit that is the DUMB train?”

    If you’re not upset over this fiasco, your’re not paying attention.

    Thumb up 41 Thumb down 6

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