In the November 2006 election, a sales tax to support it barely missed the 2/3 supermajority needed to pass it. It sailed through in Sonoma county, but floundered in Marin, due to concerted opposition by train-haters in Novato, suspect environmentalists concerned that trains might disturb wildlife, and the usual assortment of exurban NIMBY cranks.
SMART will be back on the ballot this November, and I'm optimistic about its prospects, since a presidential election usually gets the right sort of people (from my perspective!) to the polls, and two years of sitting in traffic on the 101 have probably changed a few minds (reconstruction of the 101/580 interchange in San Rafael, and its resulting traffic snarls, has hopefully reinforced the futility of highway improvements).
To their credit the SMART board and SMART backers have gone on the offensive to counter some of the arguments and disinformation that defeated their 2006 initiative. I recommend a look at their new website, which not only has good information about SMART, but a nice analysis of what makes different transportation modes cost-effective (anyone who still likes BART-to-SJ should really read this!).
Great! But how can those of us outside of the North Bay help out? I have an idea--playing off of SMART's acronym, I'm launching an acronym contest of my own.
Come up with an unflattering acronym for people who oppose SMART.
Imagine filling in the blank in the slogan: "Don't be (a) ... get SMART!"
Here's some suggestions to kick it off:
- Stuck in Traffic Unable to Picture Innovative Directions
- Dependent on Oil Poser Environmentalist
- De-Urbanized Marin Bitches (perhaps not my most productive idea)
Think up stuff, post your ideas as comments!
In the spirit of open-source development, everyone should feel free to cannibalize from previous suggestions and improve on them.