If they can come close to the Average weekday Ridership by
mile of 27 for the
Capitol Corridor (San Jose / Oakland/ Sacramento) then they will have
the equivalent of 526 roundtrips (terminal to terminal). This takes only
48 cars off the freeway per Peak Hour.
SMART will reduce cars on the 101 commute by 0.55%,
only 79 cars per peak hour.
The EIR Peak 6
Hours (3hrs morn, 3hrs eveng)Ridership
Prediction for 2025 is 2,580 round-trips that's 2,580 x2 /6 = 860
trips per hour.
One freeway lane transmits 2,400 cars in one peak hour with an average
occupancy of around 1.4.
And SMART's average trip length from Santa Rosa (Jennings Ave) to San
Rafael, (39 miles), is no more than 12 miles,
APTA says only 42% of Train Rides come from Displaced Single Occupant
Vehicles so between Santa Rosa and San Rafael,SMART
can take ( 860 /1.4 ) x 12/39 x 42% =
79 cars off the
freeway per peak hour.
A 3 lane freeway, both directions, has (2,400 x 6 ) = 14,400 vehicles
per peak hour. So SMART can reduce the commute by
(79 / 14,400) thats
0.55 percent cars on
the freeway at peak!
And all for a mere $1.5+ billion.
So looking at
Appendix C Nov 2014there will be no more
than half of the track from Santa Rosa to Santa
Rafael with a bike path. The cost for the other half is $40 million
- the same as the cost of the Larkspur Extension (page 16)!
No attempt is made
to compare the equivalent expenditure of $590 million on a Bus
To quote a Marin County
Supervisor: " for rail to be financially viable, there needs to be a
higher than current intensity of land use (development) within close
proximity to the stations or the system will be highly inefficient
economically. That is the time-proven reality of this mode of
SMART Financials to
The 2014 Financials are Phase 1 only and appear to
2008 includes Phase 2.
Given the best case scenario of an average of
round trips per weekday 15,000/week x 52 x 13 = 10,140,000
roundtrips over 13 years (2016-2029)-- projected Farebox Revenues
of $61 mil. means the average ticket needs to be $6
The Fare Structure is based on zone travel, with a
$3.50 base fare and $2 charge for each zone line crossed. That equates
to an average overall fare of $5.25 with discounts factored in. Without
discounts, the average fare is $7.50.
The rate structure is projected to generate initial
annual revenue of $3.9 million,
about 13 percent of the agency’s operating
budget. Currently, about 85 percent of that $30 million
operating budget plus $16 million Bond Interest is covered by sales tax
from Measure Q, the voter-approved rail initiative passed by voters in
They tell us that "Annual
Rail Fare Revenue will be $3 mil while operating cost will be $9 mil giving
an annual loss of $6mil".
But the table above shows the loss (subsidy) to be $10 mil.
1,392 Peak Time Boardings will make little dent
in the current 39,000 out-of-County daily commuters coming to work IN Marin.
But SMART will have redirected $590 million away from a comprehensive
Express Bus System & 101 Freeway expansion to Richmond Bridge. Marin AND
Sonoma is nowhere near developed enough
to justify rail. Even if Sonoma were more
developed, the argument for rail would still be futile, looking at the
damning data for rail elsewhere in the country and the relative
cheapness of Hwy101 expansion HERE.
On Hwy 101 at
San Rafael - in
One Lane during the morning rush hour -
2,300 vehicles pass thru per hour. One Hwy101 freeway lane "conducts"
more than 25,000 vehicles per day. Compare that to the SMART rail prediction
of saving a maximum of 1,900 car trips per day. Put
Rapid Bus in that lane and you get
40,000 passengers per day. So you can see how MUCH MORE COST EFFECTIVE investing in the Freeway and an Express
Bus System is compared to any rail alternative. Lets not divert our our money away from a
far more cost effective way of reducing traffic congestion to a rail system,
that it has been admitted by SMART itself, will have an insignificant effect
on traffic congestion.
Sierra Club sponsored a debate between the PRO and CON factions of
The PRO argument amounted to no more than one statement: "If you care about
Global Warming you need to support SMART".
But it is the opposite that is the truth.
If you care about Global Warming then
you need to have voted against SMART.
For so much money would be diverted away from
a far more cost effective way of reducing traffic congestion,
(an Express Bus System utilizing car pool lanes),
to a rail system that will make
no significant change to traffic congestion.
Global Warming would have been more benefited by the
than by the relative increase in congestion from SMART rail.
This applies even more in Sonoma
Sonoma's traffic problems ,
especially future problems from relatively more development,
will be far more adversely effected by
diverting much needed finance away from
comprehensive Bus Systems
(think how many new clean and quiet buses
can be bought for
$548 million more
with bus routes that can be more flexibly changed
to meet that new development
than can any fixed rail system).
increase congestion in downtown San Rafael and this will back-up traffic
onto 101 during the peak commute hours.
impacts will be more significant if they extend the rail
to Larkspur. Traffic on 2nd and 3rd street
will be impacted by crossing gates.
And it will take 6 subsequent traffic light changes before SEQUENCING takes
Did the MTC even consider these impacts when it reassigned $20 mil.
in RM-2 funds
from the Greenbrae Interchange
project to SMART? Under the general heading of
“connectivity” MTC (via
Kinsey) rationalized making it much more likely
award the $16MM in federal funds. (Still waiting on this.)
millions of $'s continue to get diverted from more worthy (but less popular)
systems, that utilize hybrid technology and are currently
taking far more riders than SMART is
envisioned to ever take. Btw, what is the cost of
relocating the downtown transit center
and who is going to pay for that? (This will be necessary if SMART
is awarded the federal dollars.)
This is years and
years of bad news for San Rafael.
What the public hasn’t yet realized is how brittle SMART’s
financial outlook is. No one will bail them out when the next
recession hits, reducing their key revenue stream and reducing ridership.
That’s when the real fun and games begin. Watch for the begging
for an additional quarter cent begins.
If the BOS puts on another tax
measure for transportation
it ought to be
opposed under the argument “these
people aren’t credible and will
do what they want, just like they did when the stole
$8mil. from Marin Co to bail out SMART.”
Will it be enough to keep them from obtaining a 2/3
They don’t have
money for shuttles --- they’ll be going after MC
transit district to re-route buses
(they won’t take many passengers and Diane Steinhauser
knows it) they don’t have money for stations: --
San Rafael will have to cough up the $$$ if they want to build
something different. They certainly aren’t
going to pay for San Rafael to redesign the
traffic signalling infrastructure. And we’re
still waiting to hear what cities will have to pay to obtain
Quiet Zones. Yet, they just drafted
a financial plan that concludes they have tons of extra dollars every year
The financial plan draft states that it "uses a fairly conservative estimate
of 3 percent annual growth in sales tax revenues." In fact, the plan's
assumption is anything but conservative, when compared with historical
experience. SMART has assumed sales tax revenues will
rise faster than the historical average.
SMART assumes Operating Expenses grow at the inflation rate, that there will
be no increase in:
----- the price of diesel and
between now and 2028.
This assumption is totally out of line with the
experience of other Bay Area transit operators. It's hardly
"conservative" to assume that diesel prices will NOT grow faster than the
general price level or that SMART staff won't get a wage increase between
now and 2028.
BOND INTEREST PAYMENTS
SMART is committed to paying back the bonds it issued in 2012 with a payment
schedule that increases over time.
By 2028, SMART is obligated to pay over $20 million, or
half of every sales tax dollar.
Sales taxes are highly sensitive to economic growth. The longest expansion
on record is just under 10 years. The Great Recession ended in June 2009.
This means a conservative assumption would incorporate two recessions into
the planning horizon.
The financial plan has included none.
Over 40 percent of sales tax revenues will pay off Bond Interest.
There is no plan for two likely recessions.
Finally Hwy101 Expansion
Costs are available. It is expected that the
freeway lane's cost to be not more than $15 mil. / mile (excluding
Novato-Petaluma narrows). This equals $750 mil. for 50 miles from San Rafael
to Cloverdale. But one freeway lane offers at least 6 times more
person-miles per route mile than rail. Which is
$125 mil for the freeway Vs $200 mil for the rail per
the same person-miles. (One HOV(carpool) lane in
places "conducts" 40,000 commuters per day with Express Bus, which would be
8 times SMART ridership).
The added flexibility of HOV lanes plus bus makes freeway expansion by far
the better alternative.
Instead of a railway from Sonoma to Marin Civic Center,another freeway lane would
offer over 9 times more passenger-miles(later
plans include rail to Larkspur or San Quentin), but to quote straight out of
ABAG's Briefing (Pg16):"without
development that is sufficiently intense to support the rail system, it will
A SMART commuter rail doc called "SMART FACTS"
refers to 2 cities as good rail examples:- St Louis
and Portland. Click here for the facts
on Portland and St Louis. They also quote a study by the
Texas Transportation Institute (which I cant
find) but here is the damning data Texas has on rail:-
Also they say the $548 more mil cost of SMART is less than
the cost of increasing Hwy101 from 4 to 6 lanes between Petaluma and Novato.
This is misleading. The
narrows is currently not freeway and needs to be converted, rail
or not. (It includes rebuilding the bridge down to Petaluma and 4
interchanges, $485 mil.). What we should be comparing is the cost of
widening the EXISTING freeway V SMART Rail, (other than the
Is light rail popular
elsewhere in the U.S?
-No Is there a cheaper way to get people out of their
cars? -Yes Will light rail improve air quality?
-No How long will the increased sales tax be in place?
-Forever Is light rail less expensive than
building freeways? -No
Here is the
Mis-Information SMART rail from Sonoma
justifies itself with: "Upon arriving at their destination
stations, riders would be willing to take either shuttle buses (provided by
employers) or transit, or would be willing to walk 1/2 mile to their
"Current congested conditions on the US 101 corridor
during peak hours would persist indefinitely". If they don't
freeway lane that is.
The railway is feasible if:-"A high concentration of jobs/major employers
are within walking distance (approximately 0.5 miles) of a station; There is
a high concentration of jobs/major employers for which shuttle services
would be convenient (within approximately 2.5 miles); and there is severe
traffic congestion affecting travel times by car."
This attempted justification of a rail system becomes null and void by the
alternative of an Express Bus System plus another freeway lane at the
NARROWS. (as in Portland). There is adequate space to widen the
freeway from Civic Center to Santa Rosa. (Other rail systems like ACE-San Jose were built where there was little space to
widen the freeway. Metrolink-LA shares existing
nowhere on 101 will there be any effect with a max of
peak time commuters per day MAYBE leaving their
cars at home. Currently there are
39,000 Marin worker commuters from out of
county per day combined with the Novato
commuters on 101 (and the 1000's of pass thru commuters per day).
Utilization of an
still costing $548 mil (prob. more) and $10 mil/yr .
Link to multimodal
alternatives (e.g., bus, bike, pedestrian).
Sonoma & Marin is not like a metropolitan area, most will drive/bus to/from
Faster commute. Greater time utilization.
Santa Rosa to San Rafael morning commute: 70-80 minutes.
The same trip by train will take no more than 55 minutes.
you examine the national data on wait time + interconnect travel time. 55
mins + 20 mins aver. drive to station + wait time + 15 mins aver. from
station to work.
Extra freeway lanes and busing to relieve this congestion would not exist
because money to do so would have been taken away by over-expenditure on
rail. Rail, which costs more than 2 freeway lanes providing 5
times MORE passenger-miles. source http://www.marininfo.org/CarTransit/RailvFreewy.htm
Sacramento the percentage of those who use
light rail is only in single digits yet it represents about 50 percent of
the region’s overall transportation budget. Light rail generated $6.3
million in fares in FY 1999, compared to operating costs of $17 million. Its
cost $20 to $30 million a mile. For that money per mile you could buy 60 to 90 buses, clean fuel,
low air pollution buses, that don’t have any infrastructure, don’t have
tracks to run on, have fairly low capital and operating costs, and you can
make them go wherever you want them to go.In
Sacramento, “light rail is a huge expenditure” which diverts 40 to 50
percent of all available transportation funds into “a very limited system.”
Estimated costs for one six-mile stretch of light rail into south
Sacramento are $200 million, money that’s not now available for fixing
roadway problems and for more effective buses. Los
Angeles is now under federal court order to
quit raising rail fares . It must put hundreds of buses back into operation,
improve service, and reduce bus fares. UTAH:
UTA Rail Transit Does Not Reduce Congestion UTA predicts that, with the tax increase, it
can triple transit ridership by 2020. But it currently carries less than
two-thirds of a percent of all passenger miles in the Ogden-Salt Lake
region. Since auto driving is increasing even more than the tripling in
transit ridership, UTA would still carry less than 1.3% of all passenger
miles in the region. This is far too small a share for UTA to have
any significant effect on congestion.
Rail deprives Transit-Dependent People
Providing rail transit on one route means denying bus improvements on many
other routes. Indeed, rail is so expensive that passage of the sales tax
increase and construction of more rail lines will probably lead to less
transit service (buses), overall. ACE makes an
annual loss of $4.3 mil. Covered by subsidiesfromSan Joaquin, Alameda andSanta Clara
counties. Metrolink-LA and the Coaster make a loss, too, and were established when no
freeway alternative existed and development around stations already existed.
This is a totally different situation from Marin.
ABAG's requirement of Marin to CREATE development to justify rail ignores
the far cheaper and easier alternative of another freeway lane.
campaign in support of a one centsales taxto fund
many promises were made to Dallas taxpayers.
DART advertisements told Dallas taxpayers that light rail offered the best
hope for reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality, and
revitalizing downtown Dallas. Light rail has failed on all three counts.
has not reduced traffic congestion. Traffic congestion has risen
35% since the light rail election, an amount 10% greater than the national
average increase and greater than any other Texas city (none of
which have light rail).
has not improved air quality in Dallas,
because to do so would require reducing traffic congestion, which DART has