Vancouver council supports single ballot measure for buses light rail

first_imgVancouver and Clark County elected leaders appear ready to engage in a high-stakes game over the future of public transit.Vancouver city councilors on Monday indicated — with one notable exception — that they believe voters next year should be asked to approve a single ballot measure that preserves and expands existing C-Tran bus service while also providing money to operate light rail. The city’s position contrasts with Clark County commissioners, who want a separate vote on funds to operate an extension of Portland’s light rail transit system across a new Interstate 5 bridge into downtown Vancouver.With C-Tran’s nine-member board of directors due to consider the ballot question today, it now appears likely that the city will block the board from going forward. Five C-Tran board members — all three county commissioners as well as Battle Ground city councilor Bill Ganley and La Center Mayor Jim Irish — last month signaled their support for two separate ballot measures.But Vancouver’s three representatives can vote together under C-Tran’s bylaws and veto any board decision.County commissioners also enjoy this bloc veto power.Mayor Tim Leavitt and councilor Jeanne Harris both argued Monday that it’s in the city’s interest to support a single ballot measure that supports C-Tran’s overall mission to move people — whether that’s on buses, paratransit vans or light rail.“I see transit in our community as more than just buses,” Leavitt said.Five of the other six city councilors agreed.Yet, by linking light rail to a broader measure necessary to preserve existing bus service, C-Tran may risk a backlash against basic bus service by voters who are disinclined to support light rail in downtown Vancouver.last_img

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