SMART or stupid? Corte Madera Town Council member Michael Lappert called the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit plan a "folly" during Tuesday's meeting.
"Not another dime of public money on this folly. It's insane," insisted Lappert at a special meeting of the Corte Madera Town Council on May 31. "A train that goes in only one direction? … It's stupid."
The meeting came in advance of the June 2 meeting of the Transportation Authority of Marin. TAM heard discussion over whether or not to hand over $8 million to help the financially-troubled Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit authority.
Corte Madera councilwoman Diane Furst, the town's liaison to TAM, was looking for some guidance on the matter and she got it. The council made no secret that it didn't see any benefit for the town.
Another TAM issue that raised some hackles was Sustainable Communities Strategy Planning, which is being administered by ABAG. The SCS housing strategy is linked to transportation planning, including SMART.
"We're all kind of autonomous. We're all part of the plan. … This notion that we're all one and the same, I just really find it objectionable. I feel that Corte Madera should be different than Larkspur, should be different than San Rafael, than Novato and Belvedere. Why do we all have to be the same?" councilwoman Carla Condon said.
"Another thing that disturbs me … is that something like this was drawn by some planning directors, when it should be drawn by the people elected by the town and not some planning officials who may not even live in the community? Their interests are different and their philosophies might be different."
The council received a letter from TAM suggesting that "Development in Marin should be focused along the Highway 101 corridor and around SMART stations. Communities without Highway 101 frontage or SMART stations should encourage nodal mixed use development served by transit."
SMART initially owned a right-of-way that went down to the area around The Village shopping center, but has since scaled back plans. The railway is expected to end at the Larkspur Landing Ferry Terminal, unless the plan is further scaled back.
The TAM board won't vote on the matter until June 23 after it is reviewed by the body's executive committee.