SMART picks contractors for Phase 1 rail start

Written by Douglas John Bowen

Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) said Thursday it had “completed final negotiations”  to build phase 1 of an eventual 70-mile rail line in Sonoma and Marin counties, north of San Francisco. Phase 1 will link Santa Rosa and San Rafael, Calif., a distance of roughly 37 miles.

SMART chose a joint venture including Alameda, Calif.-based Stacey and Witbeck Inc. and St. Joseph, Mo.-based Herzog Contracting Corp.

Said SMART Vice Chair Judy Arnold, also Marin County Supervisor, “The struggling economy has made this a great time to move forward building the SMART train.”

SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian said the contract was for a lower price ($103.3 million) than originally budgeted. “We are also appreciative of the willingness of the two finalists who engaged in intense negotiations to deliver this crucial phase of the SMART project,” he said. Oakland, Calif.-based  Shimmick Construction was the other finalist involved.

The $690 million project if funded primarily from Measure Q, a one-quarter percent sales tax increase approved by a supermajority of Marin and Sonoma county voters in 2008. Sumitomo/Nippon Sharyo was awarded a $57 million contract for 18 diesel multiple-unit (DMU) trains, which are scheduled to arrive beginning at the end of 2013.