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Recession, rising costs could slow SMART rail plan – Marin Independent Journal
Monday 18 May 2009, 07:01
Filed under: Marin, Northwestern Pacific Railroad, Railroad, SMART, Sonoma, transit

Recession, rising costs could slow SMART rail plan – Marin Independent Journal.

The struggling economy and rising costs may make it harder to get a planned commuter train rolling on time between Marin and Sonoma counties, according to officials with the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District.Additionally, costs for the project have increased millions of dollars since voters approved the rail plan in November.

Initially, service was to start in 2014, but that could get pushed back, or the rail project may initially end farther south in Healdsburg, instead of Cloverdale as planned, officials said. Cloverdale, which has its station built, would then see service three to four years later.

SMART officials plan to hunt for more local, state and federal cash to try to keep the project’s schedule on time.

“The recent downturn in the economy will impact SMART’s bonding capacity and the agency’s ability to construct the entire 70-mile rail and pathway project within the next five years,” wrote Lillian Hames, SMART’s general manager, in a memo Friday to the rail line’s board of directors.

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