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SMART Board Approves $103M Construction Contract For First Phase

The 38.5-mile first phase of the project stretches between Santa Rosa and the Marin Civic Center. Contract for section to downtown San Rafael to be awarded in the spring.

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District board this morning unanimously approved a $103 million contract for the construction of the rail project between Santa Rosa and San Rafael.

Stacy and Witbeck Inc., of Alameda, and Herzog Contracting Corp., of St. Joseph, Mo., will design and build the 38.5-mile first phase of the project between Santa Rosa and the Marin Civic Center.

A contract for the second phase of the project between the Marin Civic Center and downtown San Rafael is expected to be awarded in the spring. That phase will cost between $17 million and $19 million, SMART's general manager Farhad Mansourian said.

The segment to be constructed in the first phase, which SMART calls "the backbone of the system," includes rebuilding the existing railroad track with new rail ties and track switches, repairing or replacing 20 bridges, making improvements to grade crossings, and building concrete platform shells and train stations between the future North Santa Rosa station on Guerneville Road and the Marin Civic Center.

The Guerneville Road station is near the Coddingtown Mall and several apartment complexes. Also included in the first phase is a train station in north Novato at Atherton Avenue.

The train, bike and pedestrian project was initially intended to stretch for 70 miles between Cloverdale and Larkspur. Voters in both counties approved a quarter-cent sales tax to help finance the project, but the scope of the project was reduced because of a funding shortfall related in part to lower-than-expected sales tax revenues.

Opponents have since formed the RepealSMART group, which is circulating petitions to repeal the tax. RepealSMART has until Jan. 27 to gather signatures on petitions to repeal the tax and put it on the ballot this year, most likely in November.

The question of whether RepealSMART needs 15,000, 30,000 or 39,000 signatures is still under dispute and may be decided in court.

--Bay City News Service

Michael January 10, 2012 at 02:00 AM
hard to believe people still support this government project considering the current financial conditions, the ever changing cost estimates (always upward) and the now limited scope of this watered down project. Do people realize that the nice word BOND is just another name for LOAN. Loans must be repaid and the SMART board can't tell you today how this money will be paid back yet they borrow anyways. If other public transportation project offer any clue, the taxpayers will be left holding a deficit bag. haven't we learned anything from the past? Do people really want this added financial burden so a few people can take the train back and forth from Santa Rosa to San Rafael? Take a look at the 'bridge to nowhere' off Andersen drive in San Rafael. Great planning by the SMART board huh! They rushed to complete this expensive bridge at the same time they were scaling back the project so no train will run from San Rafael to Larkspur! If the developers want this so that they can profit from more development then let them pay for it. Think and then vote to repealSMART in order to reduce the amount of wasted taxpayer money.
Goofpod January 10, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Thirty plus years commuting on 101, thinking... Maybe this decade... Maybe next year... Conditions will never be perfect at the start. Build the train, finally.
John Ferguson January 11, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Keynesean economics is being put to the test at last! We need jobs right now, especially construction jobs since the housing market is so soft. Why not spend some money now so that we can achieve a twofer - build an important piece of transportation infrastructure *and* provide a bridge for working families to put food on the table while times are tight. Does it mean we'll have to pay more later? Yes, but that's what we should be doing. Taxes and government income should rise a bit when times are good and people can afford it and we should build a cushion that can be used when times are hard. Since that's not politically possible, we borrow. Bravo, I say.
John Ferguson January 11, 2012 at 01:44 AM
I use that 'bridge to nowhere' every day. It's part of the Cal Park Hill bike path, and it's an excellent use of my money if I do say so myself..
Michael January 11, 2012 at 06:56 PM
if bike paths is what the strong and organized bike coalition wanted I support that at a fraction of the hundreds of millions we will pour into the train few (by any projection you want to believe in) will ride.

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