Update: On March 3, Sonoma and Marin county residents said no to Measure I, rejecting a sales tax renewal for SMART. Greenbelt Alliance supported Measure I, urging residents to renew the existing one-quarter cent sales tax to fund SMART for another 30 years. Unfortunately, the measure failed.
SMART (Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit) is the passenger rail system that was approved by voters in 2008 and began operating in 2017. It runs from Larkspur in Marin County to Santa Rosa in Sonoma County, and will eventually extend to Cloverdale.
Why We Wanted a Vote YES on Measure I
- Measure I was an extension of the existing ¼-of-one-cent sales tax approved in 2008.
- If it had been approved by North Bay voters, Measure I would have allowed SMART to continue operating and there would be no tax increase.
- Extending funding now would have allowed SMART to restructure debt and save $12.2 million annually—fully funding operations from Larkspur to Windsor for the next 30 years.
Greenbelt Alliance supported the original SMART measure for a quarter-cent sales tax in 2008. When the recession hit in 2009, the floor dropped out of the bond market, slashing the projected $455 million in revenue to $298 million over the last 10 years. Despite this setback, SMART still got a world-class transportation system up and running by leveraging $328 million in regional, state and federal matching funds.
So far, SMART has carried over 1.5 million passengers, including over 5,700 passengers who require wheelchair access and 150,000 bicyclists.
In December, SMART opened the Larkspur station to connect to the ferry. And in January, SMART revamped the commuter schedule to run trains every half hour.
Learn more about Measure I at http://staygreenkeepsmart.org/.