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SMART train foes begin repeal petition drive

Volunteers began a push Saturday to repeal funding for the Sonoma-Marin commuter rail project, gathering ballot petition signatures at shopping centers from Corte Madera to Santa Rosa.

They found strong feelings on both sides of the issue.

"Either they're really into it or they're really not," said Joanne Hansen of Santa Rosa, who was soliciting signatures outside the Safeway store on Mendocino Avenue in Santa Rosa.

"I thought one man was going to spit on me."

Still, she had two dozen signatures of people who want another vote on the $380 million Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) project.

RepealSMART's Facebook page was helping drive interest, she said.

Voters agreed to finance the rail project in 2008 with a quarter-percent sales tax. The group's initiative asks voters to repeal it.

The Novato-based group intends to gather more than 40,000 signatures by Jan. 28 to put the measure on the ballot in Marin and Sonoma counties.

If it qualifies, it would go before voters in June or November 2012.

But the group may need only 15,000 valid signatures to qualify the measure because election law is unclear on the number required.


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