Stop the runaway train, stop SMART
In October 2008, Sonoma and Marin voters passed measure Q for funding the SMART train between Cloverdale and Larkspur. At that time the total cost of the projected was estimated to be $540M. Today, the estimated costs are $650M and this is not a final figure. Several components of the project need to be reevaluated and there is no sure indication of the potential cost hikes. The cost hikes of the project and the decline in revenue from the sales tax have resulted in a $350M shortfall in the funding of SMART. The expectation to receive additional moneys from the Federal government are uncertain at best, in particular in view of the new Congress leadership. The solution proposed by the SMART board was to scale down to the project and the current plan will only serve Sonoma county and the few people using the Civic Center station. This results in a 43% decline in ridership and a corresponding higher operation cost or higher fees. It is time to put a stop to this irresponsible adventure and use the money to expend and improve the public transportation system in Sonoma and Marin using modern, environmental friendly gas/hybrid buses. Let's stop the runaway SMART madness. Join me in calling for putting a hold on all additional SMART contracts, creating an elected SMART board and redirecting our money.