SMART Train on Track for Train & Bike Trail
|Photo of Cloverdale Depot - Northern Terminus|
of SMART Train by Calder Frenaye-Hutcheson
SMART is on Track Now
By Ben Boyce
Accountable Development Coalition
This last week, a lively rally to support the SMART train and bike pathway drew over a hundred folks at the San Rafael city hall. We were there to celebrate the sale of nearly $200M in bonds that will permit construction to begin early next year, creating over 900 jobs.
The train has now left the station. For more than two decades the transit community has been working with local government to stand up a multi-modal, integrated transit system for the North Bay. The challenge of the 21st century will be to rationalize and regionalize our basic life-support systems: land, water, energy resources sustaining eco-systems, housing and transportation. SMART is the natural next step in building the transportation infra-structure for a sustainable future in the North Bay region.
All around us we can see the effects and consequences of The Great Recession. It is not a surprise that the roll-out of SMART has been delayed by the Wall Street crisis. The new SMART General Manager, the estimable Farhad Mansourian, has pledged publicly that he will deliver this project, in full. We will get the whole train line and the regional trail with it.
The SMART rail and trail is a classic example of a good long-term investment that will generate jobs and economic activity now, and will yield substantial benefits for generations to come. This is exactly the kind of infra-structure investment that we need to get America back to work building for future generations.
Cheer Bond Funding
By Sandra Lupien,
Members of the SMART Riders Coalition, a broad-based group formed in support of the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) Train & Pathway project are applauding news that the agency has successfully completed $191 million in bond financing. The bond sale nets $171 million dollars – an excellent return -- in funding to build SMART’s initial operating segment from Santa Rosa to San Rafael.
“Selling the bonds at the right time for the right rates is just one more affirmation of SMART carrying out what the voters wanted in 2008 and still want today – passenger trains and multi-purpose pathway in the North Bay,” says Cynthia Murray, President & CEO of North Bay Leadership Council. “This sale brings us much closer to getting 900 new construction jobs and injecting almost $200 million into the local economy. This is the best present the North Bay could have received for the holidays!” Murray co-chaired the 2008 ballot measure campaign which led to the voters passing the SMART sales tax
Tanya Narath, Executive Director of the Leadership Institute for Ecology & the Economy says the sale “is a huge step forward in our quest to bring more sustainable modes of transportation to the North Bay region.”
The SMART Riders Coalition held a public rally December 21 at San Rafael City Hall in support of SMART jobs. “This is outstanding news,” says Chris Snyder, with Operating Engineers Local 3. “SMART will put hundreds of our local workers back on the job.”
The bond sale comes as a small group of individuals is working to repeal the sales tax measure that funds SMART. “Despite a carefully planned attempt to derail the project, opponents of SMART got nothing but coal in their stockings,” says Ben Boyce, Coordinator of the Accountable Development Coalition. “The SMART rail and trail is a classic example of a good long-term investment that will generate jobs and economic activity now, and will yield substantial benefits for generations to come. This is the exactly the kind of infra-structure investment that we need to get America back to work building for future generations.”
Additional information about the SMART Riders Coalition can be found at www.smartriders.wordpress.com. Click “about” to view a roster of member organizations.