Three years after their original vote on Measure Q, the sales tax ballot measure passed in 2008, an overwhelming majority of voters want the SMART project to continue to move forward. Voters show little desire to stop the SMART train project according to a poll commissioned by North Bay Leadership Council (NBLC). The poll, completed in late October, found that voters in Sonoma and Marin County strongly support construction of the project as presently planned from San Rafael to Santa Rosa. Six of 10 voters (58%) opposed the repeal of Measure Q.
Despite a perceived rocky start for SMART due to the recession and management issues, voters have held firm in their commitment to the project for the same reasons they supported Measure Q. “It is clear from the poll results, that given these tough economic times, North Bay voters are clamoring for the 900 jobs SMART will create by year’s end followed by many more jobs in the coming years. Voters seek to reap the twin benefits of stimulating the local economy and getting reduced construction and materials costs,” said Cynthia Murray, president and CEO of NBLC. Murray continued, “Voters also want green transportation alternatives to Highway 101 offered by the train and pathway, and aren’t buying the argument that if SMART goes away that there will be any another alternative.”
Proponents of repealing Measure Q remain approximately the same percentage (32%) as those who did not vote for it in 2008. Then and now, the anti-SMART proponents have failed to undermine voters’ convictions that the SMART project will create much-needed jobs, boost the economy, relieve congestion, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The poll confirms that the repeal effort is misguided and cannot succeed.
Said Murray, “We hope that these compelling poll results lead the anti-SMART group to drop its efforts to stop the train. The train opponents have already cost Marin and Sonoma taxpayers millions of dollars bond sale penalties. Now they want to make taxpayers pay even more for an unnecessary, expensive do-over election that voters already decided in 2008," Murray concluded.
The poll, by Dresner Wickers Barber Sanders, fielded 501 randomly selected, registered voters in the SMART district (Marin and Sonoma Counties)between October 27-30. Given the sample size, the poll results have a margin of error of +/- 4.37% at a .95 confidence level.