C-Tran board to consider CRC, BRT support

By Eric Florip, Columbian transportation & environment reporter

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The C-Tran Board of Directors will tackle two of its highest-profile issues — the Columbia River Crossing and bus rapid transit — head on during its monthly meeting tonight.

And the committee mulling a possible shake-up of the board’s membership could make its decision late this afternoon.

Tonight’s agenda includes, under action items, a discussion of whether C-Tran should continue to support the CRC. After receiving no money from the Washington Legislature earlier this year, the proposed Interstate 5 Bridge replacement with light rail has re-emerged as a pared-down $2.75 billion effort with Oregon at the helm.

C-Tran has long been a local project sponsor. But the agency hasn’t worked on the CRC in earnest since July, when C-Tran received a stop-work order from project leaders. That’s left one of the key financial questions surrounding the CRC — who will pay for operating light rail in Vancouver, and how — in limbo.

At C-Tran’s July board meeting, Clark County Commissioner David Madore moved to withdraw support from the CRC. The motion was then tabled without action.

At the Vancouver City Council meeting on Monday, Mayor Tim Leavitt, during council communications, shared a proposed resolution he plans to offer at today's C-Tran meeting. Leavitt's resolution would reiterate the agency's support for CRC and bus rapid transit.

Tonight’s meeting also includes a public hearing on C-Tran’s support of bus rapid transit, a $50 million project that would reshape transit service along much of Vancouver’s Fourth Plain corridor. Madore and others have pushed to “pause” the effort, citing a non-binding vote set for this fall that will give Clark County residents a chance to weigh in on the proposal.

Last month, Madore attempted to float an unannounced motion requiring C-Tran to obtain voter approval before committing to build bus rapid transit. A resolution up for consideration tonight doesn’t appear as strong — it only directs board members to “discuss, consider, and courteously regard the outcome of the November 2013 advisory vote.”

Before the regular meeting convenes, a 10-member board composition review committee will continue its look at the makeup of the C-Tran board. Last month, the committee laid out three options — two of which would give more representation to the smaller jurisdictions on the full board. The third option would maintain the status quo. Committee members have said they’d like to make their decision at tonight’s meeting.

The board composition review committee meeting begins at 4 p.m., followed by the regular board meeting at 5:30 p.m. Both will be held in the Columbia Room of the Vancouver Community Library, 901 C St.

Look for live updates of tonight’s meeting at www.twitter.com/col_enviro, and full coverage later at www.columbian.com.