‘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.’
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.
Windsor’s train station doesn’t have passenger rail service yet, but it’s already dictating how the town will grow over the next 20 to 25 years. Town planners have come up with a blueprint for development in a half-mile radius around the station, which is considered integral to a transit-oriented future in which people live and work within walking distance of trains and buses.
Tensions flared Monday evening during discussions about a long-range plan for land use as well as roads, trains and other transportation systems in Sonoma County and the Bay Area. Police were called to the meeting at the Finley Center in Santa Rosa to keep order.
Two long-envisioned North Bay transportation projects are under renewed scrutiny as regional planners put together a new $200 billion spending plan. The two projects — widening the Novato Narrows and Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit extensions to Cloverdale and Larkspur — will be evaluated on a series of criteria, including a cost-benefit analysis. What would you like to see in the plan?
Regional transit planners Wednesday approved key pieces of funding for the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District, a tacit approval of the agency’s $360 million spending plan. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission in a unanimous vote approved $23.1 million in toll bridge funds and $11.5 million in state funds for SMART.
SMART’s board of director’s unanimously approved a $400 million financial plan that should allow the district to receive $23 million in funding from the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission in September. That money in turn sets the stage for SMART to go to the financial market in October to sell up to $171 million in bonds approved by Marin and Sonoma county voters in 2008.
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.
Trains could be delayed a year or more on the Santa Rosa-San Rafael commute rail line and the cost is now estimated to be $45 million more than anticipated, transit officials said Friday.
Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit officials will release new financial figures Friday that may cause a redesign of the plan and possibly delay the start of service between downtown Santa Rosa and downtown San Rafael. SMART Chairwoman Valerie Brown said the new figures will not derail the project. “I do believe we will be able to present a picture of a doable project, with some changes here and there,” she said.