EDITOR: One of the attendees at a presentation by SMART director Farhad Mansourian expressed surprise that the expenses of running the train will never be fully covered by the riders' fares ("A bill of goods?" Letters, Saturday). The reality of all mass-transit systems, even in huge cities such as Tokyo and London, is that they must be subsidized by taxpayers. A better question would be what SMART will do if operating expenses are not covered by the income from the tax and fares.

Since public works projects tend to cost significantly more than projected, the cost to run the train may exceed the $20 million SMART estimates. Since the projected cost is close to the tax revenue estimate of $25 million, it may end up not being fully covered. Will SMART cut service, close stations, raise fares or just come to the taxpayers with hat in hand asking for more money?

It seems that the SMART board should be discussing this possibility now and preparing for it. In any case, the people against SMART have one other hope. If you remember, the SMART sales tax is only in effect for 20 years, so another sales tax measure will have to be voted on in 2028.


Santa Rosa