One week after voters rejected a sales tax increase to pay for light rail in Vancouver, the question of what happens next remains unclear. The C-Tran board indicated Tuesday it will tackle the issue in earnest during a retreat meeting in January.
Only a handful of audience members Tuesday addressed the topic of light rail, which would extend into Vancouver as part of the $3.5 billion Columbia River Crossing. Some opponents have suggested the Interstate 5 Bridge replacement project should rethink its design entirely. Others have pledged to find another way to pay for light rail operations and move the CRC forward.
Updated election results show C-Tran’s Proposition 1 failed by a margin of nearly 57 percent no to 43 percent yes — a difference of close to 19,000 votes as of Tuesday. The measure would have raised the sales tax rate in C-Tran’s service district by 0.1 percentage point.
Board approves union contract
The C-Tran board also approved a new two-year contract with its paratransit dispatcher employee group, represented by Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757. The agreement gives paratransit dispatchers a contract covering the period between June 1, 2011 through May 31, 2013. The group’s most recent contract had expired at the end of May 2011.
The agreement gives the employees a 2 percent wage increase effective Sept. 1, while maintaining regular step raises. The new scale will pay paratransit operators — representing eight employees at C-Tran — between $20.77 and $27.69 per hour.