The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit's (SMART) board last week approved a California state-sponsored plan that calls for the agency to take ownership of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Co.
The complex agreement was years in the making, with the sale's framework established in a 2018 bill that provided SMART with $4 million to buy the railroad, its equipment and exclusive rights to its track from Larkspur to north of Cloverdale, The Press Democrat reported last week.
Under the plan, the insolvent state agency known as the North Coast Railroad Authority would be dissolved, ceding 21 miles of track not owned by SMART from downtown Healdsburg to the Mendocino County line to help one day complete the agency's planned 70-mile passenger line to Cloverdale.
The framework for the sale was established in a 2018 bill sponsored by state Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, that provided SMART with $4 million to buy from Northwestern Pacific Railroad Co. its equipment and exclusive freight rights to the track. An obscure and insolvent state agency, the North Coast Railroad Authority, would ultimately be dissolved under the plan, ceding 21 miles of track not owned by SMART from downtown Healdsburg to the Mendocino County line to help one day complete its planned 70-mile passenger line north to Cloverdale.So the now-abandoned parts of the NWP line will become yet another rail-to-trail.
The endorsement also advances McGuire’s effort over the coming decades to construct a 320-mile recreation pathway from the San Francisco Bay to the Humboldt Bay, lends momentum to extending SMART service on an existing east-west railway along Highway 37.
Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District’s (SMART) board earlier this week authorized funding the design and construction of a second commuter-rail station in Petaluma, California.
SMART will use $8 million in proceeds from the sale of a downtown property to fund the construction of a new station and parking lot at Corona Road and North McDowell Boulevard, SMART officials said in a press release.