SMART rail to use old tracks

07/22/2010

As part of a project to widen Highway 101, CalTrans crews have embarked on a three-month effort to move 3,500 feet of rail line in San Rafael 50 feet to the west. The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) hopes to use the old Northwestern Pacific railway for passenger train service in 2014. The fledgling transit authority, which now faces a $155 million shortfall, is unsure when the tracks will be used. “We’ve always assumed that this part of the project is on CalTrans’ dime,” SMART spokesman Chris Coursey said. “We’ll be ready to use it once we get our trains rolling.” CalTrans spokesman Bob Haus says they will be building a bike lane as well, which indicates that SMART plans to retain the bike/pedestrian pathway despite budgetary pressures to cut superfluous options. Supervisors also passed a resolution on Tuesday to ensure a bike path is included in the Novato Narrows road-widening project.