Passengers riding the new rail line between Sonoma and Marin counties may one day be able to spot a black-tailed deer or a night heron on wetlands owned by the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit system.
Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit has received an $11.4 million boost to extend commuter train service to the Larkspur ferry.
The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit board Wednesday hired a full-time legal counsel, a move the agency said will save money on legal fees as it builds the train line between Santa Rosa and San Rafael.
An unprecedented tsunami of development along Highway 101 in Sonoma County is putting thousands of people to work and pumping nearly $2 billion into the economy.
Up and down the spine of Sonoma County, more than a dozen big-budget projects are underway, creating or expanding centers for the arts, shopping opportunities, health care facilities, business offices, hotels, restaurants and a casino resort.
The seats for the new Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit commuter rail cars have passed required safety tests, a month after failing the first round of testing.
A Petaluma man locked in a dispute with the SMART commuter rail system is hoping to draw track-side neighbors from all along the route to a meeting tonight to consider how to work together.
Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit officials are seeking $6.6 million in federal funds to buy more train cars, money that otherwise would be used for local pedestrian and bicycle paths.
‘SMART is committed to go to Cloverdale and to Larkspur and as you go farther, you need more vehicles,’ said Farhad Mansourian, SMART’s general manager.
SMART’s request is drawing fire from bicycle advocates because the rail agency would be taking the lion’s share of $9.9 million that Sonoma County is getting for such projects as bike lanes, sidewalk improvements, traffic lights, Safe Routes to Schools programs and even construction of SMART’s own pedestrian and bicycle path.
The Sonoma-Marin commute rail line is exempted from having to give local design review boards its plans for stations and buildings under legislation that was signed by the governor on Friday. Such local oversight, while only advisory in nature, may have let any single city along the 70-mile line attempt to hold up construction, rail officials said. The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District already was exempt from local planning and zoning regulations, they said.
The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District will create a consolidated headquarters in Petaluma, moving workers there from Santa Rosa and San Rafael. ‘We have a lot of staff constantly going back and forth. We are wasting a lot of time and talent and mileage,’ said SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian. SMART has eight administrative workers in its San Rafael offices, a dozen workers in the Santa Rosa construction office and is preparing to hire scores more as rail line reconstruction proceeds and the line gets closer to operating.
The Sonoma-Marin passenger rail agency is planning to build a future station at Airport Boulevard, where riders would be just a shuttle ride away from the Sonoma County airport. The station would become part of the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District’s construction of an operations and maintenance facility on 6.6 acres that SMART is buying from the Sonoma County Water Agency.