C-Tran board to consider hiring independent administrator

By Eric Florip, Columbian transportation & environment reporter

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UPDATE: The board decided to delay moving forward on Tuesday without all of its members present. The issue will likely come back to the board during its November or December meeting, with the goal of hiring an administrator in early 2012.

A C-Tran Board of Directors vote Tuesday night could start the process of hiring an independent administrator to help oversee the agency's upcoming high-capacity transit projects.

C-Tran plans to put a ballot measure to voters in 2012 that would raise the local sales tax to pay for the operation of two new systems: a possible bus rapid transit system on Fourth Plain, and Vancouver's share of the light rail extension planned as part of the Columbia River Crossing project. That measure is separate from this fall's Proposition 1, which would raise the sales tax to pay for existing bus service.

The agency also plans to seek funding under the state's High Capacity Transit Act. The law requires setting up an independent expert review panel to look over a high-capacity transit system and finance plan. C-Tran plans to also hire a panel administrator to coordinate the group and report to C-Tran.

The request for proposals up for board consideration Tuesday would set that process in motion. C-Tran has laid out a set of criteria for a panel administrator that include relevant experience, price, understanding of high-capacity transit and regional knowledge.

C-Tran has budgeted $500,000 to cover the review panel and administrator costs.

The board meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in C-Tran's administrative building, 2425 N.E. 65th Ave. in Vancouver.