News

EXPLAINING OUR POSITION ON SMART

This March, Marin and Sonoma County voters will be asked whether to support Measure I, a 30-year extension of Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit’s (SMART) quarter-cent sales tax. SMART is coming to voters well ahead of the tax’s 2029 expiration because an extension would enable them to restructure their debt, saving $12m per year starting in…

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Marin Voice: Put SMART on a positive track, vote no on Measure I

SMART wants voter approval to extend its quarter-cent sales tax to 2059. This would let them spend another $2.8 billion of our sales tax dollars before it again faces the only effective oversight: voters. If the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit system is to survive and deliver on its broken promises to reduce traffic and greenhouse…

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Editorial: SMART train tax – IJ recommends no vote on Measure I

A last-minute Sonoma County political battle has erupted over extending the quarter-cent SMART sales tax for another 30 years. Marin voters are along for the ride. Molly Flater, the daughter of a Sonoma County developer, and Graton Rancheria, the tribe that runs the Rohnert Park Indian casino, are the big investors in this battle. Read…

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No on Measure I: SMART too expensive to operate

Now that SMART’s tax extension measure (Measure I) is on the March ballot, the hype from rail proponents, SMART board members and SMART’s general manager is in full gear. SMART was an uneconomic dream in 2008 when voters approved a quarter cent sales tax to fund the agency through March 2029. Nothing has changed in…

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For some Petaluma commuters, getting to work is work

At about 7 a.m. every Wednesday, as many of his Petaluma midtown neighbors untangle themselves from bed sheets and start their coffee makers, David Gómez-Rosado is nearly 2 hours into his commute. He’s about halfway to work. Soon, the Golden Gate Transit 74 bus, which left Petaluma at 5:46 a.m., will drop him off at…

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PD Editorial: SMART’s self-inflicted wounds

Allow us to suggest a belated New Year’s resolution for SMART: Don’t hand ammunition to your critics. That’s one of the first lessons in Public Relations 101, but it seems to have been missed by Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit, the two-county public agency that operates the North Bay’s 28-month-old rail system. Read More

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SMART board calls for more detailed ridership data

After releasing daily passenger data to the public for the first time last week, SMART plans to provide monthly ridership updates beginning in February. In addition to daily ridership totals, the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit board of directors suggested on Wednesday that staff provide more detailed data such as ridership counts at different times of day, where…

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Editorial: SMART’s aggregate data is not helpful in determining true ridership numbers

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit administration’s long-awaited release of its train ridership data raises more questions about the agency’s leadership than it does about the operation of the fledgling commuter and weekend train service. SMART had refused to break down its ridership figures and instead presented aggregate numbers. While larger and more impressive, without a…

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Close to Home: What SMART’s data does and doesn’t say

By Mike Arnold After more than two years of operating trains and rejecting requests for ridership data, SMART has finally released daily ridership data from June 29, 2017 through Nov. 30, 2019. The data reveals much about SMART’s ridership and why it withheld this information from the public. Ridership is tiny. On the average weekday,…

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Marin Voice: Only way to hold SMART accountable is to vote against tax in March

Now that SMART’s tax extension measure is on the March ballot, the hype from rail proponents and General Manager Farhad Mansourian is in full gear. The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit project was an uneconomic dream in 2008 and still is. Long before 2008, SMART staff had been told by its own consultants that a quarter-cent…

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