Dedicated to Sharing the Heritage of Redwood Empire Railroading
Thanks for digging this out and as you probably know the NWP is just itching to provide transport services without transloading, to Redwood Empire whose main yard is south of Cloverdale near Asti right on the mail line.
I blame the NCRA for not requiring smart in the contract to re-open the line up thru Healdsburg when they sold off the RoW. Now smart has priority pressure (and funding) to go south to Larkspur with the Healdsburg work still "will advise"
I communicated with Jake Parks (NWP) on this last year and the big hurdle is the cost of the Russian River bridge renovation. They had hoped to apply for a federal TIGER grant to finance the project but someone he would not identify dropped the ball and "they" did not meet the deadline.
At the March 8 NCRA meeting there is a closed session on some of the negotiations that the NCRA is having to raise funds. Maybe they can come up with the money to match with smart but I'm not optimistic.
The other option is possible help from Sonoma County. With the price of real estate skyrocketing there the property tax revenues should be soaring. Not optimistic about that either.
The sad thing is I bet SMART's priority will somehow get them to Sonoma and Napa before going to Cloverdale. Watch out for the gut feeling i have. i know Napa has no financial obligation of any kind to reap the rewards of a commuter train but SMART would stand to have higher ridership from Napa and Sonoma than Cloverdale and Healdsburg. Wouldn't surprise me to see something on the ballot in Napa county in the coming years.
You could very likely be correct with your very perceptive analysis of the present alternative to vehicular rail link pressures in Napa and Sonoma counties. A passenger rail link from and to St Helena via Larkspur to SF would draw millions of dollars of ridership funds from Napa county into smart. Could even bring in private funding from Napa sources for such a link and indeed in my estimation I could expect our regional MTC bigots to support such a plan.
But as a future resident of Healdsburg or Cloverdale, I would join in any lawsuit to fight such a reprioritization by smart. I can personally attest that the residents of northern Sonoma County (past the SR airport) who are paying taxes to fund smart would file a well funded lawsuit if any change was made by smart to go east rather than north to Cloverdale.
There is a lot of $$$ up there that is investing in a future smart connection all the way to that already built passenger terminal in Cloverdale. As Neil Young wrote expect a hurricane: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-WMbP1RcC4
Was Napa County ever included at the early stages of SMART?
I could only imagine how many lawsuits would come forward if they tried to head east before north. They haven't fulfilled what we are paying for yet. Besides the Healdsburg bridge needing major work there really isn't that much more needed to get north. I did see some ridiculous figure for rebuilding the line from Airport to Windsor awhile back but can't remember what it was.