Light rail vote may be delayed

first_imgThe Columbia River Crossing project proposes to replace the existing twin three-lane drawbridges with 10 lanes over the river, improve five miles of Interstate 5 on both sides and extend Portland’s light-rail transit system into downtown Vancouver.Go to columbian.com/i5bridge to see a project timeline, previous stories and other links.Clark County voters may not get a chance to weigh in on light rail this year, after all.That’s if they get to vote on it at all.A majority of C-Tran’s nine-member board of directors, meeting Saturday at the Fishers Landing Transit Center, suggested that November may be too soon for voters to decide on light rail and a new bus rapid transit line.Instead, the board indicated it wants to push forward with a ballot measure to preserve existing bus service only.“Let the citizens decide on light rail. However, don’t hold my bus service and C-Van hostage,” La Center Mayor Jim Irish said.The board took no action during the informal retreat, but it did provide an indication of their latest thinking.On Sept. 14, the board voted 7-2 to put forward two ballot measures in 2011.One would ask voters to bump the sales tax by two-tenths of 1 percentage point to preserve existing bus service, add some new routes and shore up C-Van service for riders with disabilities. The other would ask for another one-tenth of 1 percentage point increase to operate an extension of Portland’s light-rail transit system on a new Interstate 5 bridge and build a new bus rapid transit line in dedicated lanes along Fourth Plain Boulevard.However, C-Tran officials say they may not have enough time to finalize plans for the bus rapid transit line before November.In light of that uncertainty — and the threat of draconian cuts in basic bus service by the fall of 2012 without a sales tax increase — board members indicated they prefer to delay the light rail/bus rapid transit measure while moving ahead with the ballot measure for buses on Nov. 8.last_img