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SANTA ROSA -- A number of local companies have been selected to take part in the recently awarded $103 million design-build contract for underlying construction in the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit commuter rail system.

The first group of suppliers, designers, installers and construction companies, hired at a cost of $17 million, will work under the joint venture of Alameda-based Stacy and Witbeck Inc. and Herzog Contracting Corp.

SMART awarded the contract to the joint venture in January. Negotiations included an agreement to seek out local contractors, according to General Manager Farhad Mansourian.

The list of subcontractors could grow during the course of the work, which is expected to last from two and a half to three years and create 1,000 "upfront" jobs. The additional money awarded in the contract will be used to fund materials and other necessities in work that includes railroad crossings, bridge improvements and track rehabilitation.

"Every one of these guys is going to turn around a hire a whole bunch of people," Mr. Mansourian said.

The impact of that hiring could play out over several years, with an early effect likely being an increase in hours for the workers who have remained employed during the downsizing of the embattled construction industry, said John Bly, executive vice president of the Northern California Engineering Contractors Association. As work load increases, firms could pursue hiring.

"The real people that will benefit from this -- they're not transient," Mr. Bly said. "They're residents of the community. They'll be able to put food on the table."

The first SMART contract began during what is usually the slowest time of year for construction.

SMART anticipates awarding at least two additional contracts this year, following the failure of an effort that would have created a ballot measure to repeal the dedicated sales tax measure funding the project. With that ballot measure effort failure, bond revenue held in escrow since a $191 million sale in December will be used to fund additional construction.

Mr. Mansourian said that it was too early to know when a bids would be published for the upcoming work. The first, for a stretch between Marin Civic Center and downtown San Rafael, would likely be awarded this spring or summer. He estimated that the other contract, for systems engineering, would be awarded towards the end of this year or early 2013.

The system’s initial operating segment, between downtown Santa Rosa in Sonoma County and downtown San Rafael in Marin, is expected to be completed in 2015--16. That stretch is estimated to represent 80 percent of future riders.

The remaining portions reaching Cloverdale in Sonoma County and Larkspur in Marin are on hold until economic conditions improve.Subcontractors for the first contract

Company

Contract

Company location

Stoer & Graff, Inc.

Pile driving

Antioch

Dutra Materials

Supply ballast

San Rafael

Canyon Rock

Supply ballast

Forestville

Ghilotti Bros., Inc

Inactive track area work

San Rafael

McNear Brick & Block

Manufacturer - wall blocks

San Rafael

Summit Signal

Systems/signal installation

Willits

Argonaut Constructors

Aggregate concrete paving

Santa Rosa

BKF

Surveying

Santa Rosa

Bruce Enterprises

Striping

Sonoma

Brunsing Associates

Environmental testing

Santa Rosa

Consolidated Engineering Laboratories

Quality control testing lab

Santa Rosa

Kadon Trucking

Trucking

Santa Rosa

V. Dolan Trucking

Trucking

Penngrove

Shamrock Materials

Supply ready-mixed concrete

Petaluma

Sonomarin Landscape Materials

Supply concrete wall blocks

Petaluma

Sonoma Reinforcing

Reinforcing bar

Sonoma

Stevenson Supply

Supply erosion-control material

Santa Rosa

Syar Industries or Dutra Materials

Supply aggregates

Santa Rosa, San Rafael

Syar Industries*

Supply aggregate concrete and cold mix

Santa Rosa

Source: Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit. *Likely subcontractor but subject to change.