Granted, light rail critics boast that the Nov. 6 issue could kill the Demon Loot Rail Crime Train. They’ve got a right to misrepresent the ballot measure in such a way, but anyone who believes light rail is not coming to Vancouver is living in a dream world. We just need to figure out how to pay for maintenance and operation.
Personally, I rather like the idea of the Columbia River Crossing luring more than a billion of our tax dollars from the federal government back into our community. About time, many would say.
And as for the funding mechanism, Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt aptly described the situation in a recent online comment: “The ballot question is one of financing. Do voters believe sales tax should be used to support the annual operations and maintenance costs? The ballot question is not about yes or no to the light rail. Much like a ballot measure for schools. Are you willing to support additional property tax to support schools? If the answer is no, schools still operate. If the answer is yes, schools still operate.”
Why couldn’t the Nov. 6 vote become a light rail killer? First, because we’re not the only stakeholder in the CRC. Second, as Leavitt wrote, this question “was answered (after significant study of the pros/cons of the alternatives) by the citizens committees and the three local elected bodies on this side of the river (C-Tran, RTC, City of Vancouver) and the three elected/appointed bodies south of the river (Tri-Met, Metro, City of Portland) and endorsed by the Port of Vancouver, Port of Portland, Chamber of Commerce, Portland Business Alliance, Identity Clark County, numerous labor unions, etc., four years ago in 2008. The states of WA and OR and the Federal Transit Administration, the Federal Highway Administration and the White House have signaled approval.”
None of that, however, will disrupt the reverie of the light rail critics. Dream on, friends, while the rust grows on Excalibur.