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Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District bond sale closes

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District has sold $199 million in bonds to finance construction of the rail line from Santa Rosa to San Rafael.

The sale, which closed Tuesday, will raise $171 million that can be used by the agency. The remainder is committed to covering the costs of the sale.

The bonds carry an interest rate of 3.3 percent.

The sale involves the conversion of $190 million in short-term bonds that were sold at a variable rate of 1 percent. Those proceeds were put in trust while SMART was threatened with a ballot measure to repeal the district's sales tax.

Construction is now under way to rebuild the rail line, beginning at Railroad Square in Santa Rosa and working south to the Marin Civic Center in San Rafael.

SMART has also recently purchased 6.6 acres at Airport Boulevard in Santa Rosa for a maintenance facility and for a future station to serve the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport.

Service is scheduled to begin in late 2015 or early 2016 from Guerneville Road in Santa Rosa to downtown San Rafael.

SMART plans to extend the line to Cloverdale and to Larkspur as additional funding becomes available.


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