SMART to speed up construction plans after repeal effort fails

The six-month effort to force an election to repeal the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit sales tax officially ended in failure Monday, clearing the way for the district to accelerate plans to build its two-county rail line.

RepealSMART organizers did not collect the minimum number of signatures necessary to qualify the initiative for a November ballot measure, according to the Sonoma and Marin County elections departments Monday.

RepealSMART organizers obtained 5,471 signatures in Sonoma and 9,111 signatures in Marin, for a total of 14,582. The minimum threshold was 14,902, said Gloria Colter, Sonoma County's assistant registrar of voters.

Because the total fell short, Sonoma and Marin County elections officials will not go through the process of verifying the signatures, Colter said.

With the end of the repeal effort, SMART now has access to $171 million raised by selling construction bonds, which will be used to launch several contracts necessary for the transit system to be built.

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