How does SMART serve residents in Marin and Sonoma counties?

Over the past two years, Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) trains have carried 1.5 million passengers, including over 5,700 passengers who require wheelchair access and 150,000 bicycles. The SMART train and its bicycle and pedestrian path are valuable public assets that help Marin and Sonoma county residents travel throughout our region.

With fare discounts available to approximately half of all riders, including seniors, teachers, students, commuters, youth and disabled riders, use of the SMART system is expanding every day. As ridership increases and SMART opens new stations, like those in Larkspur and downtown Novato, we need to continue investing in our transit network to ensure it remains effective and efficient.

Why do we need Measure I?

In 2008, voters in Marin and Sonoma counties had the foresight to create SMART. You voted to build a modern train system to bridge county lines and connect to the ferry in Larkspur. SMART has delivered on that promise – despite serious obstacles. This funding, which gives SMART access to millions in federal, state and regional matching funds that help further enhance rail transit for Marin and Sonoma County residents, will expire if not renewed by voters.

Measure I is critical to SMART’s future and would renew this vital funding with NO TAX INCREASE. That’s why the SMART Board of Directors voted to place Measure I on the March 3, 2020 ballot. Measure I would ensure SMART’s financial survival and allow restructuring of construction debt. This would save $12.2 million annually, fully funding operations from Larkspur to Windsor for the next 30 years.

What will Measure I do to improve local transit?

Measure I will:

  • Take hundreds of thousands of car trips off Highway 101 every year
  • Support SMART service to additional cities
  • Increase the frequency of SMART trains
  • Fund safety enhancements along the rail line
  • Add additional parking to SMART stations
  • Build more bicycle and walking paths connecting SMART stations

Why do we need Measure I now?

By passing Measure I now, SMART will have a steady stream of funding for a longer period of time, which would allow refinancing of debt just like you would refinance a mortgage on your home. This refinancing would save $12.2 million annually, which could then be used to fund operations for the entire rail line for the next 30 years.

How do I know funds from Measure I would be spent as promised?

The same fiscal accountability provisions that have ensured existing funding has been spent as promised would be included in Measure I. Every penny would benefit Marin and Sonoma counties and could not be taken by the State. An independent citizens’ oversight committee would also continue to review all expenditures.

Would Measure I qualify SMART for more outside funding?

SMART has collected $320 million in federal, state and regional matching funds so far and Measure I would allow our transportation system to qualify for more funding from those sources.

Would Measure I help alleviate SMART’s debt?

Extending funding with no tax increase would allow SMART to restructure debt and save $12.2 million annually, which would fully fund operations from Larkspur to Windsor for the next 30 years.

How much does Measure I cost?

Measure I is an extension of an existing ¼-of-one cent sales tax. If approved by North Bay voters, it would allow SMART to continue operating and there would be NO TAX INCREASE.

Does Measure I affect essential purchases like groceries and medicine?

No. By law, essential purchases like these are exempt from sales tax.

When can I vote on Measure I?

Measure I will appear on the March 3, 2020 ballot. All registered voters in Marin and Sonoma counties will be eligible to vote on the measure.

When is the deadline to register to vote?

The deadline to register to vote in this election is Monday, February 17. To register to vote please visit www.registertovote.ca.gov.

What if I never receive my ballot in the mail?

If you are unsure if you are registered to vote or do not receive your absentee ballot the week of February 3, please contact the Marin County Registrar of Voters at (415) 473-6456 or the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters at (707) 565-6800, depending on where you are registered to vote.