Update: Light Rail Will NOT Face Second Vote in Vancouver

Because One "No" on Light Rail *was* Enough

Update 5:30 pm: The petition is actually invalid, Clark County elections supervisors found.

After examining 94 suspect signatures, the county office found that some were duplicates, according to The Columbian. The petition now is 32 valid signatures short of the 5,475 it needed to refer the petition to the city council, and to the ballot.

Here's the original story:

On the heels of a resounding "no" to Portland's MAX line from Clark County as part of the Columbia River Crossing, light rail is set to face a second challenge in the city of Vancouver.

The Columbian reports today that a petition demanding that the city council and government "shall take no action, nor enact any legislation that would promote or establish the extension of light rail across the Columbia River into the city of Vancouver" has enough valid signatures to go forward. The city would also be barred from spending public money on the venture.

If the ordinance is found to be legal by the city attorney, the city council now must adopt the ordinance, amend the ordinance and adopt it, or put it on the ballot.

Clark County voters in November rejected a sales tax increase that would pay for the operations and maintenance of light rail into downtown Vancouver, a key piece of the plans for the CRC. The project will also replace the aging bridges over the Columbia River and expand five miles of Interstate 5 in Oregon and Washington.

The sales tax vote has already thrown project into definite limbo: the Federal Transit Administration—from which the $3.5 billion project is hoping to get $800 million for light rail—won't fork that money over until it's positive the locals can pay to run the trains. That will now be stalled until planners can figure out other ways to come up with the $2.5 million annual bill.

There's no telling (if the ordinance is legal), what a successful vote barring Vancouver from even breathing the word light rail would do to the embattled megaproject.

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