SMART (Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit) District board will approach Washington DC to lobby personally for money to help fill the $155m funding gap for a rail project linking the Marin and Sonoma counties.

The rail plan was hit by struggling economy and diminishing sales tax revenue. It also has failed to create a good bond market, making it difficult for the district to borrow cash.

The officials said that rail service was initially supposed to start in 2014, but that could get pushed back, or the rail project might initially end in Healdsburg instead of Cloverdale as planned.

The type of train to be used – heavy or light diesel trains – was also discussed.

SMART will decide on spending an additional $350,000–375,000 on heavier trains and lighter vehicles by 1 August 2009.

Work on the 70-mile rail line is scheduled to start between 2011 and 2014.