Smart is trying to build a Cadillac system with a Chevy budget. As I understand it the only alternative considered at the Nov 6th meeting were for parts of a Cadillac. What should be considered is a whole Chevy. The tracks are ready for Freight AND PASSENGERS from the Ignacio wye to Windsor. It is possible to reasonably make improvements to the existing Freight tracks to run Passenger trains at 45 or 55 Miles per hour. According to my calculations the 12 miles between Petaluma and Novato would take 9 minutes at 79 miles per hour and it would take 13 minutes at 55 miles per hour, this is only 4 minutes longer, even less when you include slowing down for the bridge.
Here is what smart should do. Replace as many ties as required for 45 or 55 MPH track speeds. Replace switches for 79 mph, or repair switches for the slower speed. Only make repairs to bridges that are needed. Replace all road crossings for 79 mph. Use existing rail, but have a rail inspection car check out the rail and replace as needed. Do this all the way to Cloverdale
From Ignacio to larkspur you may do the same or selectively improve for 79 mph trains.
It is my understanding that trains running slower than 59 mph do not require signaling. All the ties replaced for the slower speeds can be reused for the higher speed trains.
This would mean that you could have a complete but slower system. You could also consider leasing locomotives and passenger cars for a start. Once the system is complete, and you have something to show, it might be easier to get addition funding for the upgrade. When money becomes available you can upgrade the system. Remember between Ignacio and Windsor the work is already done, and at a cost of less than $50 million dollars.
I think that the citizens of Marin & Sonoma county will demand a complete Chevy rather than part of a Cadillac. And you might even have some money left over for a bike path.