August 21st, 2013 | Andrea Damewood News | Posted In: PDX News, Transportation, Politics

City of Vancouver Officials Want to Pay for Running the Columbia River Crossing's Light Rail

news1_3847ILLUSTRATION: Jonathan Hill

Here's another sign backers of the Columbia River Crossing are serious about reviving this once-dead idea: The Vancouver City Council is taking up the charge of paying for light rail.

The council is set to hold a workshop on Sept. 9 to discuss ways to cover the $2.5 million a year light rail operations and maintenance costs as planned, even though Clark County voters rejected a sales tax to cover the costs last November.

The CRC needs $850 million in Federal Transit Authority money to build the $2.75 billion project. The project includes twin Interstate 5 bridges, light rail and add new interchanges on the Oregon side of the Columbia.

The project backers claim they have only until Sept. 30 to apply for the federal money; the FTA won't approve a grant until a local funding plan for operations and maintenance is in place.

The board that runs C-Tran—Clark County's public transportation agency—includes two very anti-light rail county commissioners, who have veto power over any attempt to push light rail back through that board.

The Vancouver City Council, however, has a pro-light rail and CRC majority.

Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt says his city will come up with the money. He’s leaning toward a city surcharge on light rail fare and park and ride. Other options he's discussed in the past include a citywide license surcharge.

“It’s reasonable to assume Southwest Washington will carry its weight,” Leavitt tells WW.

 
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